Mariachi Festival comes to London - WIN tickets

London’s Barbican is bringing Mexico to the UK for one night only on Monday, says Elizabeth Mistry. Win a pair of tickets to see the first ever performance

By Elizabeth Mistry on 23 April 2010 in Travel Articles

London’s Barbican is bringing Mexico to the UK for one night only on Monday and you could win a pair of tickets to see the first ever performance in the UK by the spectacular all-female ensemble,  Mariachi Femenil Nuevo Tecalitlan.

Read our interview with the band


A week ago they were worried that they wouldn’t even get on the plane, now – as they prepare to leave their home city of Guadalajara, famous as the birth place of Mexico’s original Mariachi musicians and now home to the country’s annual Mariachi Festival,  they are asking about the famous British weather and worrying if they will have enough warm clothes.

But the 10 young women who make up one of the most popular all-girl Mariachi groups to emerge in recent years have plenty to look forward to even if they do end up having to put a few extra layers on over their trajes – traditional costumes worn by the singer and his – and now her – supporting ensemble tipped with silver buckles and adornments to recall the metal on the costumes of the charro or Mexican cowboy.

Formed just four years ago, the girls are not the first all female group (that honour belongs to Las Perlitas who famously sung the Mexican national anthem before a football game six years ago) but they are one of the most in demand internationally.

Lupita Martinez speaks for the group whose members range in age from 16 – 29 says that the safety and condition of their instruments is paramount for the group which is making its debut in Europe .

 “We are all daughters of Mariachi musicians,” explains Lupita and our instruments – which include two types of guitar; the guitarra and the guitarron – a large guitar with a particularly resonant base sound, trumpets and violins – are our tools.   We have grown up surrounded by the traditions of Mariachi and we all wanted to do – to a greater or lesser extent - what our fathers did for a living. 

“We travel a lot but this will be out first visit to England and we’re excited and nervous at the same time.”   We really hope that the British like our music and that it will be a great concert – its an honour to be sharing a stage with such other great musicians,” she adds, referring to Mariachi El Bronx – who like the girls are part of the new generation of musicians taking the classic songs and arrangements into a new era and young British Chinese singer Emmy The Great who are also on the bill.

The first person to call the Barbican Box office and  who can correctly give the name of the city where the annual Mariachi Festival is held will win a pair of tickets for the show to be collected on the night.

To buy tickets for the concert call Barbican Box Office on 020 7638 8891 or for more information see the Barbican’s dedicated page at


Legend has it that the style of music known as Mariachi originated in the western Mexican state of Jalisco.  It covers a vast area stretching from the west coast where some of the country’s finest hotels are to be found, to the centre of the country which is more mountainous and heavily forested.

Accomodation ranges from imposing colonial era haciendas with fine Mexican cuisine to intimate hotels in villages where you may be the only visitor and where an understanding of basic Spanish is very helpful.

It is also one of the only places in Mexico where the agave cactus (from which tequila is made) grows and many distilleries offer daily tours which explain how Mexico’s most famous spirit is manufactured.

The state capital, Guadalajara, is home to some impressive colonial architecture and art lovers can also see original murals by one of the country’s great artists, Jose Clemente Orozco – his frescos for the Hospicio Cabañas are considered his masterpiece, who while not quite considered a Tapatio - as those who come form Guadalajara are known, was born in nearby Cuidad Guzman.

In the city there are many budget hotels but the beautiful Villa Glantz is the TM’s favourite. Elegant yet homely at the same time, it is situated just outside the centre in a quiet suburb.   There are  just nine suites including one with a hammock,  and there is no restaurant - but there are plenty of great eateries in the neighbourhood.

Need to Know:
The Mariachi Festival takes place every year, starting around late August.

This year it will run from August 31 - September 10, 2010.
For more information call the Mexican Tourist Office on 020 7488 939

Getting There:

Cathy Matos Mexican Tours offers bespoke tours to Jalisco including visits to boutique hotels and tequila distilleries. 

Mexicana Airlines flies from London Gatwick to Guadalajara via Mexico City from £850.00

For more information call 020 8492 0000 or email:

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Staying There:

Suites at Villa Ganz start at £180.00 including breakfast but not local taxes.


Find other hotel ideas in Mexico



Elizabeth Mistry, UK

Dear Crazyformexico,

I'm afraid that was the only chance to see the all-girl Mariachi band as they are now on their way home to Jalisco. They are hoping to return to the UK for more concerts in the future though - and you can always look them up if you do visit Guadalajara - they play at many events in the city.

But if you fancy something a little more robust there are several opportunities to see Mariachi El Bronx who were also on the bill last night. Dates for their UK tour are on their web site if you click on 'shows'. Venues include Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford, Newcastle and Glasgow.

I'd describe them as Mariachi Rockers - Punks who love to play traditional instruments (and who play well) with the addition of percussion which ramps things up a bit. Check them out first online - and if you ever get to Mexico I hope you have a wonderful time.

27 April, 2010

crazyformexico, Sheffield

OMG - this makes me want to go - to Jalisco AND to the concert. Are they playing anywhere else in the UK or is this the only chance to see them?

26 April, 2010

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