Rockabilly fest embraces Latino culture

The Altons perform at the 10th annual Latinx Rockabilly Festival Saturday at Pitzer College. Drummer Carlos Casanovas, guitarist Bryan Ponce, bass player Gabriel Maldonado and lead singer Adriana Flores came from Los Angeles perform in the Latinx Student Union event. Other local bands – including Moonlight Trio, the Paranoias and Cuicani – also performed. All proceeds went to the college’s emergency fund for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, students. / photo by Taylor Griffith

Shaikha Almawlani
Staff Writer

Centuries of culture and heritage decorated the Pitzer Square with an after party encompassing local musicians.

Latino students flooded the area seeking to embrace, celebrate, and re-introduce their culture to their campus through an evening filled with vibrant colors and live music.

Pitzer College Latinx Student Union hosted their 10th annual Latinx Rockabilly Festival from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at Pitzer College.

The festival featured food trucks, a car exhibition, art, crafts and various vendors.

Several local bands livened up the stage, including Moonlight Trio, the Honeydrops, Gambero Mark and the Altons.

Nyesha Gordon, a freshman linguistics major at Pitzer College, attended the festival with two of her friends.

She said she hoped to learn more about the Latino heritage and enjoy the beats.

“I think its nice that they get to display their culture because you don’t see that often on campus,” Gordon said. “The Latino heritage is not showcased or visible on the regular.”

Gordon said she was happy that the event highlights Latinos in a culturally relevant way.

“There’s a lot of white washing in events and it is not common to see individuals take pride in where they are from and the culture they grew up in,” Gordon said.

Sonia Galindo, owner of Lindo Artisan Gallery in Rowland Heights, took part as one of the vendors.

Galindo sold homemade artisan crafts, such as paper mache calaveras figurines and embossed frames depicting rockabilly skeletons.

“I’ve been wanting to actually get involved in a rockabilly event for a while and this is the first rockabilly event I have taken part in,” Galindo said.

She also had pieces made by her family members on sale.

“I also wanted to challenge myself and relatives to create different art pieces,” Galindo said.

Galindo said she loves to take part in club and student-run activities because she believes it is important to support students seeking to better society.

“I’ve always had that interest because they are the future,” Galindo said.

“They are here already, but they’re just starting their lives out and it’s good to support them in whatever way we can.”

All proceeds went to the emergency Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fund for international students at Pitzer College.

This particularly resonated with Galindo, being a daughter of immigrants.

Socorro Nieves, a freshmen legal studies major at Pitzer College, is part of the college’s Latinx Student Union.

She said that Latinos only represent a small fraction of the whole student body, 15.25 percent, but the Rockabilly festival is one of the biggest events of the year.

The festival is so large that it has its own organizing committee, according to Nieves.

The committee begins organizing the event a few months into the school year and continues into the spring semester, Nieves said.

Gordon was particularly impressed by the event’s planning committee.

“It is really nice to have it organized by students of color for students of color,” she said.

Nieves said the focus of the event is to bring to light Latino culture and crush stereotypes.

“It represents how our culture goes way back and that there’s more than what people see today, like the old cars and the way people dress.”

Nieves said the event makes people feel nostalgic.

“Being far away from home, it feels kind of homey,” Nieves said.

According to Nieves, the highlight of the event was the car show and the music because it best represents Latino culture.

“You see a lot of Chicanos out here today and you don’t really see that on the daily,” Nieves said.

“It is like the Latino community is hidden, but once there’s an event, all of them come out so that’s the best part about it.”

Shaikha Almawlani can be reached at

Shaikha Almawlani
Taylor Griffith

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