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Around Town: Critic's Pick

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Best Puro San Anto Festival

Tejano Conjunto Festival
Rosedale Park, 340 Dartmouth, (210) 271-3151,
guadalupeculturalarts.org/tejano-conjunto-festival

There’s no better place on Earth to catch conjunto than San Anto, the regional mother of the genre. Among the many, many festivals held throughout San Antonio each year, nothing elicits quite the grito that the Tejano Conjunto Festival does. For the past 33 years, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, aided by energetic coordinator (and real deal conjunto player in his own right) Juan Tejeda, has brought the world’s leading tejano and conjunto musical acts and their fans to the heart of the West Side. This year, the jam-packed, three-day festival features some 25 acts, including a first-ever TCF appearance by the re-formed Texas Tornadoes (RIP Doug Sahm), local master Max Baca and Dutch wunderkid Dwayne Verheyden. There’s also workshops, special commemorative presentations, a free seniors dance by conjunto queen Eva Ybarra and plenty of traditional food, drink and merch to check out. For us, the trimmings don’t matter as much as witnessing a true San Antonio stroll around the large dance floor and the octagenarians that seem to reanimate when they hear “Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio” or “Clementina.” The affordable ticket prices (generally less than $20 per day) make it an easy way to unite San Antonians rich and poor, young and old. Mark your calendars for May 14 (the seniors’ dance), and May 16-18 (the main festival). If you miss this event, you’re missing a huge part of our city’s considerable charm.

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