Nuevo Culture

La Arrolladora, Edwin Luna & More Banda Artists Show Support for Mazatlán’s Beach Performers

It’s been a rocky week for live banda musicians who make their living playing on the beaches of Mazatlán. After the city presented new regulations due to excessive noise, the musicians pushed back by protesting on the city’s tourist streets (Mar. 27). Now, more recording artists are expressing their opinions about the situation, like members of La Arrolladora and Edwin Luna.

Throught the last days, there have been new developments with the issue. As of right now, reports indicate that the new regulations include bands having to register with the city and agree to follow the area and hour protocol if they want to participate in the tourist areas during Semana Santa. After receiving the permit, the city would then advise the bands where they can play and give them a badge for identification. The cut-off hour for live banda is now 10 p.m. Other reports also point out that live bandas can’t exceed the number of members that are in a traditional group, as well as can’t use speakers to amplify their music.

Many people don’t agree with restricting bandas, including the governor of Sinaloa, Rubén Rocha Moya, who said that the city needs to come up with a balance of both the musicians and hotel organizers to keep Mazatlán a go-to destination. “I have instructed the heads of the Ministries of Government and Tourism to work with municipal authorities and stakeholders to build a regulatory framework that harmonizes the interests of both parties, in order to maintain our main beach destination as the favorite place for Mexican and foreign tourists,” he wrote on X.

At the time of publishing, media outlets report that a total of 56 bandas – 38 bandas and 18 norteño groups – are currently granted permission to play on the beaches during this week, which is annually known to bring in a high rate of tourism. 

The issue in Mazatlán has grown so big that some recording artists in the banda genre are speaking out and showing support to local bands. One of Mazatlán’s most recognized names, La Arrolladora Banda El Limón’s current vocalist Esaul Garcia, shared they feel sad about what’s happening because they once worked at the beaches. “It doesn’t only affect the musicada, but there are many people who make a living from music in Mazatlán. Half of the people make their living that way. Hopefully, they are making the best decision [and they reach] an agreement in the best interest of everyone,” he said. He also mentioned how there’s no point in violence and reiterated that Mazatlán is known for live banda.

Luis Ángel “El Flaco,” who used to sing in Banda Los Recoditos, also posted a video in support of his colleagues. He shared that he was upset about the situation and that he was sure everything would be resolved in the best way. “Banda music in Sinaloa and specifically in Mazatlán has been a tradition for years, many, many years. It goes hand in hand with its carnivals, its festivities,” he said in the video. “Besides, Mazatlecos and Sinaloans are very cheerful people who welcome tourists in a very special way as if they were family; as if we were old friends. That characterizes us, and that goes along with the music, so you can’t change an old tradition. It is useless; it is nonsense.” 

Other musicians like Jorge Medina, who used to sing for La Arrolladora Banda el Limón, also shared his thoughts. He pointed out that back in the pandemic, the musicians worked with the hotel and tourism groups and stressed they remember the days when they wished for tourism. He pointed out how they should work together now that tourism is back. “There is a place for everything here. Do not take away the place that banda music has,” he said in hopes for everyone to be united.

Singer and producer Claudio Alcaraz, who used to sing for La Adictiva, also spoke out about the protests. He noted that tourism is part of the city’s ecosystem, which includes live banda. “Most of the people who come to Mazatlán, are national people, they are national tourism, you can’t cut it off… it’s [like] killing the hen that lays the golden eggs – Mazatlán is identified in great part by [live banda],” he said.

Moreover, the singer Edwin Luna of La Trakalosa de Monterrey, who was in town during the protest, also voiced his opinion. He said he was inspired by Mazatlán and that he hopes everyone is able to work. His message to the musicians was simple: “Que le sigan echando ganas.” He also posted a video of the protest on his Instagram.