Refrigerated air may have seduced many El Pasoans during the menacing weekend forecasts, but Downtown Street Fest organizers remained unfazed, and the rock ‘n’ roll die-hards swept the streets of Downtown El Paso glaring down the uninvited triple-digit guest.
Headliners this year included Papa Roach, Alice Cooper, Jackyl, Dokken, Starset and In This Moment, a headbanging medley guaranteed to leave sore all necks involved. Two stages glorified local acts with genres ranging from Americana-Folk singer Emily Davis to Latino favorites Frontera Bugalu.
The traditional air-conditioned Custom Car Show brought boasted some new, glossy additions, and the indoor stroll through the Convention Center was a sure recalibration of body temperatures for sticky guests.
The Street Fest is a familiar downtown El Paso excursion, but a few 2017 standouts reinforced my annual desire to return to see how organizers are keeping the party fresh.
The live art concept has become a staple in El Paso’s festival and block party planning, but during Street Fest, a whopping 220 feet of mural space took the cake for one of the most impressive live art installations I’ve seen to date.
Los Visionarios’ artistic army returned to the Downtown Street Fest with an arsenal of artists, paint cans, rollers, brushes and palettes to create what may be perceived as an artistic chronology of border culture, while managing to portray the artists’ evolution of collective growth.
The mural, located on the north side of the convention center, is still freely accessible, and photos are encouraged to preserve the memorable masterpiece.
All of the local band selections for Street Fest boast extreme talent, impressive stage presence and memorable audience engagement. One band however, does deserve a mention for refreshing and awakening all the overheated, lazy dance bones in the body.
Frontera Bugalu, shaking dance floors since 2011, emanates the spirit of El Paso with that hypnotizes all shoulders and hips in the vicinity.
Listen to their latest release here. Upcoming gigs (recommended) can be found here.
Though the eardrums are still recovering, nothing beats watching a 69-year-old rocker in smeared black eyeliner wearing a cape. From the pyrotechnic theatrics to baton-swinging demands to hype the audience and even sacrificed plastic baby dolls decorating the back line, Alice Cooper is the creepiest of cool.
The rebellious, respected rocker laughs age in the face and delivers an energy capable of summoning a storm. Literally. Rain poured and scattered crowds, only for the show to get louder and the fanatics to head-bang harder.
Thunder, bass, rain and even a giant Frankenstein prop made it true rock-n-roll.
Til next time, Downtown Street Fest!