This past weekend (and hopefully you didn’t miss it), Puerto Peñasco played host to the International Cervantino Festival, the largest art and culture event in all of Mexico. With very little notice, or time to prepare, the new administration in Rocky Point pulled off organising the only extension to the festival happening in Northern Mexico.
And what a festival! Rocky Point’s Malecon was full for three evenings, as artesans, painters, dancers, and musicians brought their creations to the crowds who filled the Malecon shoulder to shoulder each night.
The main stage, set with each evening’s sunset as a backdrop, was the center of attention. Local salsa musicians Agua de Coco opened the first night with the help of many enthusiastic salseros dancing below the stage.
Armando Noriega, long known for bringing the Lighthouse Restaurant to local food lovers, fronted a band performing a set of his original compositions. Nicknamed ‘Kennedy’, for his physical resemblance to the ex U.S. President, this became the name for this new project. Mr. Noriega has been thought of as the best saxophonist in all of Mexico, as well as a first call arranger and music director for talents like Roberta Flack, Tony Bennet, and in Mexico Yuri and Jose Jose. Kennedy presented unique Jazz originals that will be part of an up coming recording project.
Saturdays festival headlining act was vocalist Susana Harp. The vocalist presented original interpretations of songs from the full history of Mexico, aided by dancers and story tellers. A second stage featured folkloric dance troupes from around Mexico.
A local artist with an international audience, Guillermo ‘Memuco’ Munro created large paintings using spray paint live throughout the festival. Memuco has dedicated the themes of his work to protecting and salvaging endangered wildlife worldwide, with a special emphasis on the locally important threatened species the Vaquita Marina.
Each night, as the day’s events wound down, roving musicians, dressed in the style of Rennasaince minstrels, would grab guitars, tamborines, and drums and lead impromptu parades through Puerto Peñasco’s Old Port neighborhood. Followed by a hundred or more people not ready to say good night, mini concerts could be heard well into the late night hours.
Plans are for the Cervantino Festival to return next October. With a year to get ready, the goal is to create a change in the type of tourism that Rocky Point participates in, bringing an international audience and establishing something new in the image presented by our little town.