MxLAN festival to return to McAllen in 2020

Las mujeres Tehuanas, Zapotec "people of the clouds" - an indigenous culture of Oaxaca, Mexico, participate in the Calenda Parade at the McAllen on Friday, July 26, 2019. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor

City commissioners this week all but assured there will be a second edition of MxLAN, the five-day arts and music festival held by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce at the McAllen Convention Center for the first time this past summer.

Commissioners voted unanimously at Monday’s city commission meeting to increase the city’s financial contribution to the festival from $69,000 in 2019 to $125,000 at the 2020 festival. Commissioners Tania Ramirez and Victor “Seby” Haddad did not vote on the ordinance — they were absent from Monday’s meeting.

The “increase” in funding contribution “will assist to offset expenditures,” according to a city memo on the measure. The chamber spent the bulk of the money last year, in addition to plenty of sponsors, which drew more than 80,000 visitors during the five-day festival in July.

“It was a success,” Commissioner Veronica Whitacre said during Monday’s city commission meeting before voting to approve the funding increase. “Huge success.”

The event was recognized by the magazine Texas Monthly, which titled an article about MxLAN: “How McAllen’s New Festival Could Change the Valley’s Music Scene.” The piece argued that the event “has potential to contribute to creative communities, if it’s thoughtful about how to best serve their needs.”

Not only was music an integral part of the inaugural event, but artisan vendors from across Mexico set up to sell their goods inside the convention center while, 800 people participated in a nighttime 5K race and a panel moderated by Texas Monthly led to a conversation about immigration issues affecting the region.

“It’s going to be a great showcase for why we appreciate being on the border, and all the great things the border has to offer,” Darling said to kickoff the inaugural event.