Of the many musical genres that were born in the 20th century, none was able to influence societies in the East and the West as much as rock & roll.
Compared to the other music that was developing in the 1950s and 1960s, rock broke in by being a young and rebellious genre not only in its novelty but in its production. Its main figures, such as Elvis Presley and The Beatles, represented a face with whom the youth could identify with. Such force did not go unnoticed by Mexican audiences and musicians.
This impact echoed across Mexican society. More than 50 years have passed since Festival de Avándaro (also known simply as Avándaro) took place in the state of Mexico. This was probably the biggest rock concert in the cultural history of country, with more than 350,000 people in attendance.
On December 1st, the audiovisual presentation of Festival de Avándaro, produced by Alex Perales, director of Asociación Sonido Tijuana, took place in the Carlos Monsiváis room at Centro Cultural Tijuana. This projection shows the most relevant parts of this event which was a before and after in Mexico's popular culture. Baja Californian bands such as Love Army, Ritual, Javier Batiz, Peace and Love, Náhuatl, participated in this festival.
As a prologue to this showing, Tijuana native producer and musician Alex Perales alongside musicians Javier Batiz, Pájaro Alberto, Lalo Barceló, Ramón Torres, and Armando Navas spoke with the press about those remote days in 1971 when the festival took place.
Pájaro Alberto, poet, musician, and composer of the song "Caminata cerebal" which he played with the band Love Army at the festival, spoke about his musical and philosophical career through the years, generational differences, and the impact that artificial intelligence has on societies and how this tool influences musical creations.
He also spoke about the censorship that they endured back then due to playing rock. These were complicated times for music, because of the ban. Although it wasn't as bad in Mexico as it was in Argentina, where they would cut off your hands for playing rock," the artist said.
An amazing experience
"All newspapers spoke badly about the event," Lalo Barceló of musical band Ritual stated, who also remembers when journalists of newspaper El Sol de México published a photo of himself with a caption that read "Musician of Ritual under the influence of drugs". Despite political pressure and the media, Barceló said that it was an amazing experience.
Javier Batiz, meanwhile, says that what killed them in Avándaro was the "low level of moderation" from musicians. The guitar player claims that many of his colleagues back then died of sadness because they were not able to play because the government began to harass them, saying that the musicians should have been a little more measured with their lyrics.
The importance of rock & roll, Alex Perales says, in the West is essential and it must be recovered for our society. Regarding the value of reviving an event such as Avándaro, he stated that the festival was a before and after in Mexico, claiming that this musical genre is one of the most critical and revolutionary, politically speaking, and one of the richest regarding artistic expression.
It is not just another genre, but a universal culture, a way of life. In Mexico, the peak of this expression was Festival de Avándaro, the greatest cultural event that has happened in Mexico so far.
The showing of Festival de Avándaro in its 50th anniversary took place in the 39th anniversary of CECUT. It is hoped that it can also be showed at Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City.
Information related to Festival de Avándaro y Sonido Tijuana at Sonidotijuana.com
To learn more about upcoming events at Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT) check the following link: https://www.cecut.gob.mx/