7 Cinco de Mayo shows to catch in Austin

Los Super Seven performs during SXSW in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, March 15, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Infuse your Cinco de Mayo celebrations with some local live music.

The holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862 when a scrappy Mexican army defeated Napoleon III’s powerful French troops. Although now a minor holiday in Mexico, Americans over the decades have embraced its cultural significance. Some scholars believe had Mexicans not won that battle that the French could have backed the Confederacy in America’s Civil War, perhaps resulting in a very different United States.

Texans can take pride in knowing that the Mexican forces were led by Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, a native Texan born in present day Goliad.

RELATED: Cinco de Mayo through Civil War lens

Check out a sampling of shows honoring the holiday:

Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival with Flaco Jimenez: The annual free celebration of accordion-driven music runs May 4-6 at various locations including Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater, Stubb’s Graceland Grocery in Oak Hill, and One-2-One Bar. On Cinco de Mayo, the fest will attempt to set an official Guinness World Record for the number of accordionists playing the polka “Viva Seguin” at the same time. The family-friendly festival, which will feature more than 20 different bands from across Texas, will be headlined by legendary musician Flaco Jimenez. More info: ranchoalegretexas.com.

Cinco de Mayo with Tequila Rock Revolution & Boca Abajo at One-2-One Bar: When metal meets mariachi, you get Tequila Rock Revolution. The music salutes mariachi roots and infuses it with modern metal and electronica. The result makes for a must-see show that features a 10-piece supergroup donning Mexican sugar skull face paint. Join them as they celebrate their latest single release. Rockers Boca Abajo round out the bill. Showtime starts at 10:30 p.m. More info: one2onebar.com

Tacos & Tequila with Grupo Fantasma at Belmont: Latin funk masters Grupo Fantasma will lead the Cinco de Mayo bash that’ll have a special margarita menu and free tacos. Doors open at 7 p.m and tickets cost $25 in advance $35 at the door. More info: tacosandtequilaatx.com

Bidi Bidi Banda to perform Cinco de Mayo at Mohawk. 

Bidi Bidi Banda, Tiarra Girls, Este Vato at Mohawk outdoor: Austin’s first all-star Selena tribute band headlines the celebration in honor of the Queen of Tejano music. Teenage alternative rock trio and sisters Tiarra Girls also make up the lineup along with the eight-piece Latin fusion outfit Este Vato. Tickets range from $15-20. Doors open at 8 p.m. More info: eventbrite.com/q/mohawk/events/33132

Cinco de Mayo 2018 at Fiesta Gardens: The 26th annual free accordion festival features food booths and acts such as Johnny Degollado y Su Conjunto, Los Pinkys and Ruben Garza. Lawnchairs permitted. More info: cincodemayoaustin.com

La Voz Latina at Cactus Cafe: Local artists will honor Latin American female singers with a special tribute concert at 7 p.m. at the Cactus Cafe. Leti Garza, Stephanie Bergara, Suzanna Choffel, Ley Line and Vanessa Lively are among the featured performers. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door. More info: cactuscafe.org,

Cinco de Mayo Cumbia Night with El Tule, Plan Sonidero, DJ Megabass at Hotel Vegas: After receiving a city proclamation declaring April 26 “El Tule” Day, the music veterans who have been making our hips shake for the past 15 years will be leading the party. Cumbia masters Plan Sonidero and DJ Megabass are also among the high-energy lineup. More info: texashotelvegas.com


Austin Cinco de Mayo events

 Bidi Bidi Banda Photo by Liliana Valenzuela / Ahora Si

Bidi Bidi Banda
Photo by Liliana Valenzuela / Ahora Si

Cinco de Mayo: A tale of two holidays

As Americans pour tequila and bite into nachos during Cinco de Mayo celebrations across the country, let me just note that the celebrations south of the border, if any, are much more subdued.
While living in Mexico City, I realized that Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, where Mexicans defeated an invading French army, was only a minor holiday there. Even Mother’s Day feels like a much bigger deal there than Cinco de Mayo.
While the French were turned back on that day, they returned a year later and were successful in conquering Mexico, if only briefly. Some scholars believe had Mexicans not won that battle, though, that the French could have backed the Confederacy in America’s Civil War, perhaps resulting in a very different United States.
And, according to some historians, the battle featured a strong Texas contingent helping Mexico fight. In a 2012 American-Statesman article, Battle of the Medina Society president Dan Arellano wrote, “After the French were driven out of Mexico in 1867, the surviving Tejanos returned and started celebrations in South Texas.”
I guess if anyone is going to raise a glass, it might as well be Texans. If you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo, Austin has several events, including the ninth annual celebration at Fiesta Gardens on May 3, which is presented by Fiestas Patrias of Austin and features food and Tejano and Conjunto artists starting at 12:30 p.m.
Among the scheduled performers are Los Fantasmas del Valle, Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers and Johnny Degollado y su Conjunto. For a complete schedule and more information, visit cincodemayoaustin.com.

Gina Chavez

On May 5, Univision presents the seventh annual La Condesa Cinco de Mayo Downtown Block Party on West Second Street between Guadalupe and San Antonio streets from 5-9 p.m. La Condesa will feature food from its taco truck, El Cubico. The South Congress Hotel’s new ice cream truck, Stephen F. Frostin’ will debut at the block party.

Performers at the free family-friendly event include Gina Chavez, Cilantro Boombox, Bidi Bidi Banda, Mariachi Relampago, Celsius and DJ sets by uLovei and DJ Canoso. Fore more details, check out facebook.com/Cincoaustin.

Also, the Mexic-Arte Museum presents its Taste of Mexico culinary arts festival with Mexican-inspired food and beverage samplings on May 5 from 6-9 p.m. at Brazos Hall. The evening, which costs from $65-$75, helps support the museum’s arts education program. Food and drinks from more than 30 of Austin’s restaurants will be featured as well as music and art.

On May 4, Mexican culinary master Chef Daniel Ovadía will host a free cooking demonstration at 7:30 p.m. at El Mesón. He’s the author of “La Cocina de Daniel Ovadía: Historias y Recetas de Paxia” and the owner of several highly-acclaimed restaurants in Mexico.

Find these and more Cinco de Mayo events in the Austin360 App, available for iPhone and Andriod, or in our events database.