Nuevo Culture

Is Mazatlán Prohibiting Live Banda at the Beach?

The freedom of performing banda in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, is being challenged. A viral video of tourists watching a classic guitar performance with the sounds of banda playing at the beach outside of their hotel resort sparked an excessive noise conversation online and in the city. Now, the city’s community and authority are pushing new regulations surrounding one of the music genres and attractions Mazatlán is known for.

The viral video, shot at the Double Tree By Hilton, became a recent focal point for social media users and authorities. However, the hotel manager stepped in to say that though their visitors’ main complaint is about excessive noise, it’s not all about banda noise, but also about the bars and clubs surrounding the area. Reports also indicate that at least 19 businesses in the hotel and tourism industry came together to ask the city to regulate banda rules on the beach.

Moreover, another related incident that elevated the excessive noise movement was the appearance of a condominium complex’s attention notice reading: “The hiring of any music band is forbidden in the beach area in front of Camino al Mar, which is granted to the development.” Though the city’s mayor notes “libre transito” [public access] to everyone – including musicians – he also noted he isn’t privy to the agreements between the hotels and the federal government in certain areas.

Both the aforementioned video and the notice sign captured the attention of many online users, who voiced their opinions on the matter online. They seem to agree that if you go to Mazatlán, you’re going because you enjoy banda music.

Other music advocates are also commenting on what’s going on. The general secretary of the Music Workers Union in Mazatlán [Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Música Secc. 98], Santiago Rosas Osuna asked for support from the community. “Please do not attempt to impose on us other people’s customs and habits,” he said. Francis Cázarez, president of CANACO Mazatlán [National Chamber of Commerce, Services, and Tourism of Mazatlan], also said that they can’t take banda out of beaches, as it’s part of their culture’s identity.

Though it’s a hot topic surrounding the future of live banda performances and gentrification on social media, banda is still allowed on the beaches. As of now, banda is not prohibited. According to Debate Sinaloa, tourism figureheads and municipal authorities – including The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA – Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente) – united to talk about the situation last Thurs. (Mar. 21) ahead of Semana Santa, which is an annual high season for vendors and musicians.

They agreed with local musicians that there would be a cut-off music time at 7 p.m. in the hotel resort zones. Other agreements include a reduction of bands, fewer speakers, and relocation to other sites. They also reassured that musicians will have the right to work if they follow the rules.