The 2003 Latin Oldies Fest

Even mother nature couldn't stop us

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: November 7, 2003

The 2003 Latin Oldies Fest

All week, the TV news on all major stations focused on the terrible, devastating fires engulfing Southern Califas. Of major focus was the Lake Arrowhead - San Bernardino Mountains area that were ablaze for almost a week and had to be evacuated. The air quality was supposed to be bad for the next 2 to 3 days afterwards due to smoke & ash in the air, reporters said.

Be it an ironic misnomer of location, coincidence of timing, or a test of the Gente's love, the 2003 Latin Oldies Fest held at the Arrowhead Credit Union Stadium Park in Downtown San Bernardino (nowhere near the fires) went on without a hitch, to an ethusiastic, albeit smaller than expected, crowd of Oldies lovers from all over Aztlan.

The rain of the previous night brought fresh air and sunshine the outdoor venue, and I could feel the excitement in the air as soon as I got there. There seemed to be small reunions all over the park as Gente ran into each other, seemingly after years, with the common bond of Oldies music from "back in the day".

The Master of Ceremonies was Hank Castro, the Chicano Prince of funk, footwork and finesse, who opened the show with high energy that ensued throughout the eight hour concert. Local groups Caldron and The Best of Everything put on a strong opening, playing their hearts out for a grateful crowd and making the locals proud.

Next, The East L.A. Revue, a heavy crowd favorite, with special guests The Premiers, brought the crowd to their feet with their hard hitting "East Side Sound". As usual, lead singer Maria Conchita Sandoval started the cari?os with her hauntingly beautiful "You'll Lose a Good Thing", dedicated to yours truly. Thanks, Maria!

Afterwards, promoter Steven Chavez, Hank Castro, & members of the band called me up on stage to say hello to the Gente (thanks again!), before introducing Johnny & Lawrence Perez, aka The Premiers, with special guest Mickey Lespron of El Chicano fame. As the sun started to set, The East L.A. Revue kept the crowd rockin' and dancing in the aisles with their hot sounds & style.

Mark Guerrero (pictured) and Radio Aztlan, El Chicano, Lil' Wiili G and Thee Midniters, and Tierra all gave great-as-expected performances, with Tierra closing the concert to a well-deserved standing ovation. Not enough can be said about their performances, which were all great. In between groups, Hank Castro kept the moment alive by singing some tunes off his new CD, which promises to be a good one! Surprisingly, there were no problems, despite a slightly enebriated fan who got a little more than enthusiastic. Luckily, the crowd was juntos, and they were able to calm the homie down and the show went on.

There was such a warm feeling among the Gente all day. Artists from the groups roamed freely among the crowd, signing autographs, taking pictures. I ran into Max Uballez, Andy Tesso, Rudy Salas, Ronnie Reyes, Tony Carrol and others while kicking it with author Ruben Molina at his book signing booth. I could see Willie G and other members of Thee Midniters mixing with the crowd , and I also met many listeners from my show who were glad they braved the elements to make it. Author Alejandro Martinez came all the way from Austin, Texas to be part of the scene, and of course the gente from Radio Aztlan, KUCR Riverside, were out there makin' some noise and representin'.

As I've always said, music is a fountain of youth, and the Gente drank deep last Saturday. Thank you all for being there!

I'll see you there next year, mi gente!

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme spins the finest Oldies on the World Wide Web every Thursday at 6:00pm, Pacific time, only on www.kclafm.com
website: http://www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

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