You’d be wrong.
PuebloFest drew about 10,000 music fans on Friday and about 18,000 both Saturday and Sunday to the grounds of the International Agri-Center in Tulare to hear 62 bands perform in a first-of-its-kind multi-day concert centered around “regional” Mexican music, which organizers likened to American country music, but in Spanish.
And on Tuesday, Torres said he and his partners had begun discussions with some potential headliner acts for next year’s PuebloFest.
“We’ve already talked to five big acts for next year, and we hope to announce next week,” he said.
In an interview last week, Torres said he and his partners were trying to pull off an event similar in style and size to the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but for fans of Spanish-language music.
In fact, their company, Bold Productions, was created last year specifically to put on the Tulare event with $1.5 million in backing from two partners, while Torres and his brother Esau, both members of a regional Mexican music band, provided the expertise on organizing concerts and their contacts in the industry.
In fact, the brothers and their family band, Los Malandrines (“The Outlaws”) were among the performers who played this weekend at PuebloFest.
Torres had said he and his partners had a goal to draw about 15,000 people a day to the first PuebloFest—with tickets costing $50 for one day and $150 for three-day passes—but even if they came up short they still planned to put on another concert next year, as it can take a few years for a music festival to get its legs and draw big enough crowds to become popular and profitable.
But the production group doesn’t have to worry about that, as the first year’s attendance goal was met.
“We called out and they responded,” he said of the community of regional Mexican music fans who came out for the event.
And they weren’t limited to fans from the Valley, as Torres said he met ticket buyers from farther-out regions that included Seattle, Texas and Mexicali.
“It makes me feel great, because our event was featured on national TV networks, airing on Telemundo and Univision,” which are the big networks among Spanish-language television viewers in the U.S., though English-language news agencies provided only local coverage that didn’t make their national news shows, Torres said.
As for next year, Torres said he and his partners plan to hire more staff and better train them to deal with such large crowds, as well as to train them better on how to use the microchip-embedded wrist bands that served as tickets and the means for attendees to pay for food, beverages and souvenirs.
“On Friday it was a little chaotic,” though by Saturday the staff had gotten used to working with the new technology, eliminating a lot of the glitches, he said.
In addition, Torres said that for next year he plans to find a way to better educate attendees about the wrist bands and how they work, as many people tried to pay for food and drinks with cash, not realizing they had to pay with money they digitally loaded into the wristbands.
As a result, many people had to get out of lines and use their cell phones to go online to load money onto their wristbands or they went to “cash top stations” set up around the concert venue to do that.
As for whether Bold Productions made a profit with its first PuebloFest, Torres said the sales were still being counted and the bills to put it on still were being paid, so he couldn’t immediately provide a number.
“We’ll find out soon enough, but it looks positive.”