This year’s annual Rock de Mayo Festival, taking place at Levitt Hall this Saturday will represent much more than good music and Latin culture. This event, which also includes food trucks and other activities, will actually be Colorado’s first music festival since the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down our country last March. Rock de Mayo represents a long-awaited return of live music and a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions. The resilience of the music community throughout this past year aligns wonderfully with the resilience so deeply ingrained in Latin culture, so it makes sense that Colorado’s first music festival in over a year has illuminated their culture. .
âWhen it comes to the Hispanic community, it has always been resilient,â said Miguel AviÃ±a, singer and guitarist for iZCALLi and founder of the Rock de Mayo festival, proudly.
It has been a difficult year for everyone, but the Latin community has had a particularly difficult time amid the disinformation surrounding the pandemic due to a difficult language barrier and a general distrust of the US government forged by decades of abuse. Fortunately, much of the Latin American community has used their isolation to embrace a crucial aspect of their culture: music. This is especially true for Denver’s Latin music scene, which is currently going through an exciting revolution. That’s why this year’s Rock de Mayo will feature a wider range of genres and top musicians at all levels.
âAs far as the genre is concerned, the festival has really exploded this year,â said AviÃ±a. âUsually we stick to the rock / alternative scene. This time we have a legitimate Cumbia Sonidera band, we have a funk band, we have Latin hip-hop band 2MX2 and traditional Mexican rock bands like The Trujillo company. They just tear people’s faces apart with their rock mark.
No matter what type of music you like, surely there is a band that caters to your musical tastes, and if you’re looking for your new favorite band, AviÃ±a says you might find it here.
âYou’re going to hear something new for sure. At some point in the day, you are going to listen to something that you have never heard before. “
Hosting Colorado’s first music festival since the state closed last March is a huge accomplishment, and AviÃ±a shares that sentiment. However, with this recognition comes a huge responsibility.
âIt’s definitely an award we’re proud to have. This is why it is so important that it is executed in the best possible way. I think that’s a nice feather in our cap, knowing that we put this together when no one else does. We’re figuring that out and setting the trend in terms of what these shows are going to look like. “
So what will this festival be like? Obviously, the public wants to be safe, and the organizers of the Rock de Mayo event and the staff at the Levitt Pavilion are working hard to keep this festival from becoming a big thing. This includes in particular the implementation of a âpod systemâ.
âThey call it a pod system. Basically it’s a five by ten foot space. Up to four adults and two children are allowed in each of these pods. You go online, you book the tickets. There were 800 pods in total and they are currently sold out. If people haven’t had a chance to book a pod, then after 3:30 p.m., or 30 minutes after show time, the pods will open so people can still come to the show. Social distancing is going to be at stake and the masks are needed. It will be a different show than you normally expect. So we hope everything goes well with this, but I’m sure Levitt has put everything in place to make it happen.
Speaking of the Levitt Pavilion, there is no better place to host this festival. Aside from the beautiful aesthetic and spacious viewing area, in many ways this place has a long history of supporting Latin artists. Located in Ruby Hill Park, home to Latin families for generations, the amphitheater has been campaigning for Latin musicians from day one.
âThey really put their money where they were in terms of creating spaces for the Latin community. They do 50 free shows a year, and I would say 10 or 12 of those shows are Latin oriented, whether it’s like traditional Mexican, like mariachi, or Colombian and also pop and alternative indie.
Rock de Mayo is this Saturday, May 15 from 2 to 10 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion (1380 W Florida Ave, Denver, 80223). Tickets are limited but available here.