The 2015 Edition of the San Pancho Music Festival is slated for the last weekend of February. This annual event takes place over a three-day period; from Friday, Feb. 27th through Sunday, March 1st in the nearby village of San Francisco, about three miles north of Sayulita.

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(Main picture, Huanacaxtle playing in 2014. Photos courtesy of LightStyle Photography.)

Jenna Mammina 2014. Photo courtesy of LightStyle Photography.

Jenna Mammina 2014. Photo courtesy of LightStyle Photography.

This year the festival is celebrating its 15th year. What began as a St. Patrick’s Day Party in the backyard of a winter resident has evolved into a cultural tradition in the community and one of the best-attended events of the year.

In 2001, John and Patricia Alexander offered to host a St. Patrick’s Day party in their backyard; an event which drew a number of snowbirds and about a dozen musicians. The following year, it was held again in the same venue, and still more musically inclined individuals and groups were invited to participate.

By 2006, 116 musicians were turning up to play for the ever-expanding audience. The Alexander backyard could no longer accommodate the large crowds the Festival was attracting, so the following year it moved to a new, more spacious venue. The Music Festival is now held in San Pancho’s Plaza del Sol, which was recently remodeled to accommodate larger gatherings.

The Music Fest features a wide variety of musicians and performing artists from Mexico, the United States, Canada, and Latin America, providing a wonderful balance of amateur musicians and professionals in the industry. The featured acts are not compensated for their performance; they do it for the simple joy of participating in this amazing musical experience in one of the most delightful pueblitos in Mexico.

Each night over the 3-day celebration, the music starts at 5pm and continues until 11pm. On Friday, the focus is on Latin rhythms. The evening kicks off with the Cuban group, Azucar Latino, a new addition to the Festival’s line-up that’s sure to get you up and dancing. They will be followed by a local band from LaCruz, Tatewari, who’ll keep you moving to their toe-tapping flamenco beats. The closing act of the evening is Luna Rumba, wrapping up an amazing evening with their infectious rhythms.

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The schedules for Saturday and Sunday are still being worked out; for details on who’s performing andwhen, visit the official San Pancho Music Festival website at https://sanpanchomusicfest.wordpress.com/. However, it has been confirmed that the following performers will be appearing: Julio Cabrero, Fausto Robles (Mexican folk music), Jenna Mammina, Doug Robinson, Pascha, Huanacaxle, Jeff Oster, Steve O’Connor, Reggaeson, and Amigos de San Pancho.

This year, to commemorate its 15th anniversary, the festival will be adding a second, “Legacy Stage”. Performers and groups who have been playing at the event over the years will provide entertainment and share their memories between acts on the main stage. On Friday, Frida’s Eyebrow will be hosting the legacy stage; Saturday’s host is Dave Fisher accompanied by special guests; and Sunday the event will be hosted by Geno Lamphier and friends.

San Pancho Music Festival - Luna-Rumba-2013-300x214Local restaurants and catering services will be on hand selling food, drinks, beer, and snacks during thevent. Seating at the Festival can be limited; it’s a good idea to bring your own chairs. Also, parking can be a headache, so you may want to consider car pooling or hiring a taxi.

If you’ve never attended this annual celebration of music, there’s no better time to do so. With a fabulous line-up of talented musicians, the 15th Edition of the San Pancho Music Fest is one event you won’t want to miss.

(Photos courtesy of LightStyle Photography.)