Find a Hotel
Hero Alt Text


Celebrate the roots and rhythms of borderland culture at this grand festival that’s totally Tucson.

Mariachi Live!

Tucson International Mariachi Conference - April 2020

As fans know, a mariachi band should be seen and heard live to be fully appreciated! 

La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference is a learning experience and a music festival. Three public concerts cap a week of rigorous student workshops led by masters of mariachi music and folkloric dance. On Saturday morning, a traditional mariachi Mass featuring live music and dance is open to all. These performances are big and choreographed: Musicians wearing big sombreros and ornate charro (horseman) suits perform alongside swirling baile folklórico (folk dance) groups wearing flowers and traditional embroidered dresses. Soulful harmonies, bright strings, and bold brass sounds are punctuated at times by a Mexican grito, a heartfelt cry -- the most iconic sound in Latin music!

You can experience this exuberant symbol of Mexican culture in Tucson, a mariachi hub of the United States, every April at La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference. Enjoy concerts of vibrant music and dance, and discover why mariachi music is recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity



Video: Youth group Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson wows the 2014 audience.


Mariachi music is a familiar soundtrack in Tucson. The city is considered the birthplace of the youth mariachi group movement, beginning with Los Changuitos Feos (The Ugly Little Monkeys) in 1964 and continuing with public school programs and Tucson International Mariachi Conference workshops. Tucson's first mariachi band, El Mariachi Tucsonense, led the way in the 1950s. 

A model for other mariachi festivals, the Tucson International Mariachi Conference was founded in 1982 and nurtured by such legends as Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán, Mariachi Cobre, the late Lola Beltrán, and Tucson native Linda Ronstadt. Her two Grammy Award-winning albums of classic mariachi songs learned while growing up in Tucson are a tribute to Ronstadt's own Mexican-American roots and expanded the audience for mariachi music.

Interested in more of Tucson’s borderland cultural heritage? Take the Best of the Barrio Culinary Tour or visit the Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food district. Tour Mission San Xavier del Bac, Presidio San Agustin, and Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. Browse the Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery and the Tucson Museum of Art’s Latin American Art collection, or watch an original play at Borderlands Theater.

If you visit in early November, don't miss All Souls Procession weekend, a totally Tucson take on All Soul's Day and Mexico's Day of the Dead. On any Wednesday evening, you can stream mariachi songs as part of the mix of old and new Latin music on Tucson's community radio station, KXCI 91.3 FM.

Food & Drink

These days, every city claims to be a food destination. And, yes, if you want a great meal, you can find one in dozens of... Read More

Is 12th Avenue the Best 23 Mil…

Is 12th Ave the Best 23 Miles Main Drag? In the twenty-plus years since I moved to Tucson from Manhattan, I’ve seen the dining scene... Read More