Saturday, Oct. 15, 3-10 p.m.
By César E. López Linares
Legend has it there’s a day in the year when the souls of the dead ancestors come back to this world to mingle with their beloved living ones.
It’s the Day of the Dead, the ancient Mexican tradition that had a reboot in Austin in the 60s, amid the Chicano Movement, as a way for Hispanics to reconnect with their origins. Today the tradition is present in Austin with multiple big events every year. But there’s one festival for which the main premise stands out–celebrating the dead to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
That’s the vision of the Día de los Muertos Music Festival by Easter Seals Central Texas, a nonprofit that helps patients with special needs in the Capital Area region, where one in eight people live with a disability. Through this event, Easter Seals seeks to bring awareness and collect funds for their programs, which include helping children with autism or developmental delays and providing therapy to patients with spinal cord injuries, among many others.
This year, Easter Seals will hold its all-day fourth annual Dia de los Muertos Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Fiesta Gardens. The event will be headlined by Los Angeles band Ozomatli, known for their impressive blend of a variety of genres, from classic to modern Latino, urban, hip-hop and other world styles. The “Dioses del Baile,” or “Gods of Dance,” have created one of the most exciting, captivating and flat-out fun live shows touring today. They continue to harness their musical instincts by conceiving new concepts and forging new sounds that keep fans on their toes and the world dancing.
The festival will also feature Metalachi, the world’s first and only heavy metal Mariachi band from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. They cover heavy metal songs and incorporate traditional mariachi musical instruments such as the trumpet, violin, guitarrón, vihuela, and the cowbell.Other acts will include all-sister local band Tiarra Girls and Austin Samba School.
General admission tickets are $30 and VIP tickets are $150. Children six years old and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. All festival profits will benefit Easter Seals’ client families.
“We’re trying to raise the money to cover the cost of the services we provide, and this event is a big deal for us,” explained Easter Seals’ Special Event Manager Vanessa Maldonado.“Many people don’t know that we are here and we provide therapy in Austin. For us it’s another outlet to get advertising.”
That outlet gets a more meaningful significance when the Latino population–the fastest growing population segment in our region–is the biggest minority that Easter Seals serves. It also happens to be the most difficult population to reach.
“The Hispanic community lacks resources and don’t know that we are here to help them,” said Jessica Portilla, Senior Director of Children and Family Services at Easter Seals.“We take all types of insurance and no insurance. We can assess families’ annual income and determine if there’s any money that they can pay.”
The event is completely family-friendly and features an H-E-B Kid’s Zone with interactive activities such as face painting, piñatas and calavera mask-making. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit www.austindiadelosmuertos.com.