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Mariachi Conference to return to its downtown Tucson roots

Steve Carrillo with Mariachi Cobre serenades the audience with the song, “Maria Elena” at the 25th anniversary Espectacular Concert at the 2007 Tucson International Mariachi Conference at the Tucson Convention Center.

The Tucson International Mariachi Conference will return to its downtown Tucson roots next year.

After a 10-year exodus when the conference moved to Casino del Sol on West Valencia Road, the Tucson Convention Center and several downtown venues will once again host the event.

The festivities, which have attracted about 350,000 people in the past, will be held over two weeks and include student workshops and a Mother’s Day mariachi Mass as well as the main concert and student showcase at the TCC.

Isaac Resendez, left, with Herencia Mariachi Academy out of Corona, Calif., and Kevin Zuniga with Mariachi Los Potrillos of Cholla High School jam together at the 2019 37th Annual La Frontera Arizona Tucson International Mariachi Conference at Casino del Sol.

“Happy to say that in 2022 we’ll be back downtown,” said Daniel Ranieri, president and CEO of La Frontera, the event’s founder and beneficiary.

After a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, organizers are eager to return.

The Rio Nuevo board voted to spend $25,000 for the event to return downtown, where it began in 1982.

Juan Pizon sings to the accompaniment of participants in a mariachi workshop at the First Tucson International Mariachi Conference in 1983.

“It’s time to bring them back downtown where they originated,” said board member Edmund Marquez, after the unanimous vote Tuesday. “Beyond the pride of being back downtown, they are a financial juggernaut and have the potential to fill our downtown hotels.”

The conference moved to Casino del Sol in 2012.

Ranieri said there will be many small events at different downtown venues next year.

Details will be posted on the website in the coming weeks.

The day's last light hits Sasha Layva as she and the Mariachi Las Aguilitas de Davis perform during the Showcase Concert the 2019 37th Annual La Frontera Arizona Tucson International Mariachi Conference at the AVA Amphi Theater at Casino Del Sol.

Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at

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