Father’s Day music festival set this weekend


It’s been a year in the making, but for Wayne Trujillo, organizer of Viva La NM Heritage Music Festival, the time has come to share his vision of bringing top New Mexico bands to one place — Valencia County.

Trujillo, with Go Big Entertainment, along with his partner Michael Valenzuela, wanted to bring something to Valencia County that people could be proud of while, at the same time, having fun.

Submitted photo: El Gringo, of Los Lunas, is one of 23 bands that will perform in the first Viva La NM Heritage Music Festival this weekend at the Valencia County Fairgrounds.

Viva La NM Heritage Music Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15, on Father’s Day weekend at the Valencia County Fairgrounds in Belen. The cost is $10 per day, and children get in free.

There will be 23 live bands, including Los Garrapatas Chavez, El Gringo, Gonzalo, Darren Cordova, Ernestine Romero and Antonio Gutierrez-Maestas Grupo Melodia. There will also be events and activities for the entire family, such as a live wild west gun fight reenactments, a live karate tournament, a petting zoo, a volleyball tournament, a live chain saw carving demonstration, a kids zone, car show and children’s beauty pageant.

“We went out on a limb,” Trujillo said of organizing the event. “We didn’t know to much about promoting, but we learned along the way.”

Trujillo said he and Valenzuela wanted to form the biggest music festival New Mexico has ever seen. From starting with six bands, they went out and courted others, growing the line-up to a total of 23 bands, who will be playing a minimum of one hour each.

“We wanted to do a rich celebration of New Mexico heritage on Father’s Day weekend,” Trujillo said. “A lot of these bands headline at the casinos by themselves, and to have them all in one festival, it’s going to be amazing.”

When asked how Trujillo was able to attract the bands to the event, he said when he told them that it was going to be the biggest music festival in state history, they were all very excited to be part of it.

With advertising reaching people statewide, Trujillo is expecting a large crowd for the two-day event.

“There really is something for everyone,” he said. “We want to give people something to keep them busy all day. People should go to support things coming to this community because we don’t get a lot of things out here like this.

“Just come out and be a part of a great event. We’re bringing in big staging. This is going to be something special. People are going to be able to see the best of the best of New Mexico music.”

As a native of Los Chavez, Trujillo said he knows the culture of the area and wanted to give the people something they could be proud of.

“I grew up here, I’m from here, I know what this music means to people,” he said. “My mom will sit there at the table making tortillas, listening to Darren (Cordova) and she’ll be crying one minute and laughing the next.

“I know what this music means to the people of New Mexico and that’s why I wanted to bring this to my people.”

As of last week, the promoters said they have sold or given away 1,500 tickets to the festival. And even before this year’s event has taken place, they’re already planning for next year.

‘We need something like this to put (Belen) back on the map,” Trujillo said. “I think it could really benefit Belen and the people.”

-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.