Tejano Heritage Festival celebrates culture, music

The Texas Musicians Museum hosted the second Tejano Heritage Festival in Irving on Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17. The festival consisted of three major components, a fiesta, a Tejano Expo, and music.

“The idea is to have a family event that’s free and brings the ambience of the fiesta with this event for our community,” event producer and coordinator Luis Sosa said. “We have an outdoor fiesta with merchants and sponsors. We also have the expo which is a perspective of the Mexican American Tejano experience and how it relates to our lifestyle and our culture. Then we have a tribute to honor the musicians who are icons to Tejano music.”

The festival celebrated the Tejano culture, music and history as well as paying tribute to an artist who has influenced the Tejano music genre.

“We really wanted to have an exposure for the Tejano music scene and help it rebuild itself in a way,” director and founder of the Texas Musicians Museum Thomas Kreason said. “Selena [Quintanilla] was a big influence. She did more to popularize Tejano more than any other Tejano artist. They said when we lost Selena, Tejano music died, kind of like when Buddy Holly died, they said rock and roll died. Obviously it didn’t really die, it just wasn’t as strong as it was, and we’re trying to give it that strength back.”

The two day festival kicked off with an outdoor fiesta called, “Fiesta Diez y Seis.” Diez y Seis translates to sixteen in Spanish, paying homage to Mexico’s Independence Day which is on Sept. 16 during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The outdoor fiesta included musical performances from several artists such as children’s performer Maricela and Friends, The Tunemakers of Dallas, and Richard Palomino.

“It was a pleasure for me to come out and perform here,” Palomino said. “I am truly honored and hope they continue the celebration for years to come.”

On Sunday evening the festivities continued. The night was dedicated to paying tribute to Tejano music band, The Latin Breed, celebrating the band’s accomplishments influencing Tejano music.

“Tejano music is an important part of our history,” Kreason said. “Only two genres of music were created here in Texas, Conjunto and Tejano. So if it’s born here, we should be making a big deal about it. It’s also good to pass it on to the other generations and share this wonderful music.”

The band was honored with the Texas Musicians Museum Tejano Music Legends Tribute award. Lats year’s award went to Sunny Ozuna.

“We like to do a tribute to our music icons for Tejano,” Sosa said. “I wanted to do a little bit more than just a fiesta, so we started paying tribute to our Tejano music legends in the museum. Sunny Ozuna was the first, and this year is The Latin Breed, who is a terrific group that had a lot of influences in Tejano music because of their orchestra sound they generated.”

The Latin Breed closed the festival with a live performance at the Texas Musicians Museum. Sosa remains hopeful the festival will continue growing to recognize many more musicians and teach people about the Tejano heritage. 

“This is our history and we want to let people know about it,” Sosa said. “We hope to continue our efforts here in Irving and let the fiesta continue.”