Six stages, more than 50 artists and three days of music, culture and education are all set for the biggest and one-of-a-kind Latino festival in California: PuebloFest 2017.
“The ultimate goal with this festival is to inspire the community. We will entertain them and have a great time but at the end of the day, I hope they take the words from our guest speakers and learn how they got to where they are,” said Arnoldo Ávalos, president of the board of Bold Production Inc., the company behind the massive event scheduled for March 17-19 at the Tulare Agri-Center.
The idea for this unique festival came about a while back when Ávalos met Euler Torres, member of the music group Los Malandrines, during the band’s annual Las Posadas event.
“We had been doing Posadas for 15 years and here comes Arnoldo who tells me, ‘So what? You’re giving out toys, where is the impact?’ ” recalls Torres, chief executive officer of Bold Production Inc.
That stroke a chord with Torres who along his brother Esau Torres, the other member of Los Malandrines, and their father Arturo Torres began brainstorming.
“My dad, brother and I always had a dream of doing something like this (Pueblo Fest) but we were lacking the funding,” said Euler. “Posadas was always our practice on how we were going to manage a big event, but we were missing the funding.”
That’s when Ávalos and Arturo Hernández, a very successful defense attorney, came to the rescue.
“I gave Arnoldo a (monetary) number and after he talked with Arturo, they said they believed in us,” explained Torres. “They gave us the funding and the opportunity to organize this festival. I think it has worked out good. We have a pretty diverse event.”
And with headliners such as Los Tigres del Norte, Intocable, Ezequiel Peña, Voz de Mando and many, many others, organizers expect the event will attract about 90,000 people and they want to make sure festival goers will leave the event empowered.
The mission and purpose of what we are doing is to inspire the community. We want to bring everyone together. Arnoldo Ávalos
“One of the things that I learned is that our community would rather follow a musician than a politician. That’s just how it is. You bring in a politician and they will pull about 2,000 people but you bring Intocable or Los Tigres and they are going to bring in 15,000. So to me, that is the model,” Ávalos said. “If you really want to help the community at scale it is through music. Music is the carrot to bring them in. Once they are there, lets help them, lets create the music and cultural component. Because what is happening with today’s millennials is that they are losing sight of their culture.
“For example, if you as a young millennial what escaramuzas are, most of them will be like ‘what’s that?’ ”
A folklórico dance showcase, rodeo shows or escaramuzas, motivational speakers and educational workshops are schedules during the three days.
Ávalos came to the U.S. at age 5 and is the youngest of 7 siblings from Jalisco, México. He worked in the fields but didn’t like that so he focused on an education. He attended UC Berkeley where he graduated with a bachelors degree and moved on to the Harvard Kennedy School where he earned a masters degree in Public Policy.
He worked at Cisco Systems, Google and Facebook. Ávalos retired at a very young age and became an entrepreneur. Ávalos and his wife Alma created the Ávalos Foundation that gives out scholarships to immigrant kids in small rural communities. Last year, Ávalos was recognized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.
Hernández, an established attorney for 34 years, has a similar story to that of Ávalos.
He was born in Selma, Texas to migrant farmworkers.
“I used to change schools seven times a year, every two months, from New México, Arizona, Texas, to Ohio. We would follow ‘la ruta’ (the route), picking everything from pecans, grapes, cotton, you name it,” Hernández said.
Hernández, who met Ávalos at his ranch Los Valientes in San José during one of the Posadas event, said that PuebloFest will provide a fantastic cultural aspect for festival goers.
Our goal is to ultimately give away half a million dollars back to our community. Euler Torres
“A lot of kids are starting to forget about their culture. Especially now that politics are getting a little tight against anything that is not mainstream, so we hit it just right. This festival is really needed now, more than ever,” Hernández said.
Torres says that they hope this festival will impact the younger generations. “Ávalos will bring in people from Google and Facebook to talk about Latinos in technology. It is important to try to motivate our kids in the Central Valley. We want them to think, ‘Those guys can do it, they look like me, I can do this.’ ”
Also, he said, they hope to help local non-profits and community agencies benefit from this event.
“Our goal is to ultimately give away half a million dollars back to our community. And we are doing that through different ticket programs,” Torres explained. “We have about 100 non-profits selling tickets and for every ticket they sell, they make $50. We printed 10,000 of those tickets and if all those tickets sell that adds to half a million dollars back to the community.”
It’s a win, win for everyone, he added.
“The mission and purpose of what we are doing is to inspire the community. We want to bring everyone together. We are here for the community, we are here to help,” Ávalos said. “I like to say we are the first ever in the history of the United States – or in the world – to do a music festival with social purpose. It’s incredible that this concept it’s realizing in the Valley. Hopefully we’ll get the support to make it successful.”
International Agri-Center, 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare, CA
From 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Children under 12 go in free. Adults 65 and older go in free.
Details: www.pueblofest.com, (559) 991-6565
PuebloFest is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.