Monday, August 30, 2010

Fiestas Patrias planners: Entertainers hard to find

Fiestas Patrias planners: Entertainers hard to find

Organizers of the Valley's single Fiestas Patrias celebration in Phoenix are struggling to find notable entertainers to help commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence.

In years past, Spanish-language media and other businesses that cater to Hispanics sponsored competing patriotic celebrations in Avondale, Glendale, Phoenix and Mesa featuring food, dancing and performances by popular regional Mexican artists and groups.

But the slumping economy coupled with Arizona's tough new immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, means fewer entertainers are willing to perform at Valley venues and events, including the Fiestas Patrias.

"There is a movement on behalf of many, many Hispanic entertainers to boycott Arizona," said Gilbert's Juan Elias of Elias Entertainment. "Our company normally produces eight or 10 concerts in the Phoenix area on a yearly basis. And we haven't done anything this year."

For the 11th year, Bashas'-owned grocery chain Food City is partnering with the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix for the free patriotic event.

"I think because it's coming from the Mexican consul, and it's the 200 year anniversary, they're willing to come to Phoenix," said Gonzalez. "Our media partners are using their influence to get people willing to play, and not make a political statement."

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