EL PASO – Skies will illuminate here and the Franklin Mountains will reverberate during the city’s first Neon Desert Music Festival that will take place Saturday, April 30 with international, national, regional and local talent.
Zachariah W. Paul, one of the event’s organizers along with Gina Martinez and Brian Chavez came up with the idea in October, 2009.
“We wanted to do a music festival in El Paso and we felt this is a market that doesn’t have anything like what we are trying to do,” Paul said. “We felt there is a demand here and the people would support us to do something like this.”
Paul said their vision is to create an event that is for the city of El Paso, by the city of El Paso. He said it will feature a combination of international, national, regional and local talent. “We wanted it to be an outlet for local bands to be able to play and show their talent and their abilities to thousands of people.”
Part of the sponsorship came from the El Paso City Council, which gave them $20,000. The festival is an all age show.
The event’s first 1,000 tickets sold for $25 and the regular price is now $35. There is a military discount for $25, and for children under the age of 5 admission is free. Tickets may be bought at www.neondesertmusicfestival.com.
Every dollar of every ticket sold will be donated to the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department, Paul said. They also plan to donate portion of the proceeds to Creative Kids, a nonprofit that works with disabled and disadvantaged children and the Paso del Norte Group’s Amor Por Juarez campaign, which is raising money for youth programs in the violence-plagued city.
“We hope to be able to make money and share that money so we can contribute to help these non-profits that are doing amazing things for the community,” Paul said.
The Neon Desert Festival is expected to draw up more than 8,000 people. The band lineup includes 29 bands. Those are; Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, MSTRKRFT, Kinky, CSS, Dirty Vegas, Los Amigos Invisibles, Designer Drugs, No Joy, Black & White Years Ft. Zeale, Beach Fossils, Girl In A Coma, Zechs Marquise, Parallels, Radio La Chusma, Mexicans At Night, D.A., Bulletproof Tiger, Frontera Bugalu, Subrosa Union, Cigarettes After Sex, The Lusitania, Nicosounds, Through The Trees, The Royalty, Gobi, PD Collective, PS&B, Chemical Jump, and LNSC DJ’s.
“People’s taste in music will be very subjective and we wanted to cover that through different genres of platforms of music and I believe we covered that so I think people will have a great time,” Paul said.
The bands will perform on four in a Z-shaped area of Downtown El Paso, stretching from the main stage in Cleveland Square Park at Santa Fe and Franklin streets to a DJ stage in the San Jacinto Plaza bandshell.
Local food vendors will be present during the event, visual artists and merchant vendors as well.
“I think the promoters have been doing a great job,” said Adi Kanlic, keyboardist of The Lusitania. “I feel good about the different genres the promoters selected and they’re certainly catering for our population’s taste at least for its first year.”
Hundreds of people have signed up to volunteer during the festival as well. Volunteers will be responsible for around 13 different positions such as; ticketing volunteers, recycling volunteers, peace-keepers, merchandise, and production volunteers among others.
Marc Puma production manager in charge of the volunteer program said there has been positive feedback from all the volunteers towards the festival.
“All the volunteers and sponsors are giving 100 percent positive energy that is going towards the festival,” Puma said. “People have been putting in a good efforts and motivation into the event and matter what happens, I think we will have a successful turnout,” Puma said.
Local El Pasoans are eagerly anticipating the city’s first music festival. “The lineup is awesome,” said Michelle Saari. “We don’t have a big music event like this in the city itself and I’m very anxious to hear these bands.”