By Iris Lopez
EL PASO – This city on the U.S.- Mexico border known for the strong Mexican-American culture experienced a dramatic growth spurt in music and entertainment in the past two years as nightlife fizzled in violence-plagued Cd. Juarez.
“Many people expected the Juarez violence to spill over the border, but the only thing that spilled over that border was the real electro nightlife,” said Silver IsReal, head of Estylow Junktion clothing design.
Juarez’s nightclubs such as Hardpop and Morocos concert halls were host to many shows that attracted well-known DJ’s. When the violence in Juarez began to increase, many El Pasoans stopped crossing the border to see those shows and the nightlife followed them north.
El Paso saw its biggest growth in the electronic dance music scene in the summer of 2011 when it became home to one of the largest electronic music festivals – the Sun City Festival. Since then, venues in El Paso such as The Garden, Buchannan’s event center, Tricky Falls, and Lowbrow place became hosts to some of the biggest names in electronic dance music.
Since then, El Paso hosted local music festivals that have helped local businesses grow, boosting the economy as a whole. Festivals such as Neon Desert, Sun City Music Festival, and Ohanapalooza promoted many businesses.
IsReal said he saw these festivals as a promotion opportunity for his clothing line and also as an opportunity to help other businesses around the city. “We definitely saw an increase in our sales during these music festivals. We had a higher demand for our clothes,” he said. IsReal said that the growing music scene also helped reduce some of the negativity here created by the drug war on the Mexican side of the border.
IsReal helped organize the “Ohanapalooza Music Festival,” which took place in August. It featured music from local DJ’s and also had stands offering other clothing lines such as MNSTR Clothing, House Head Clothing, and Addy Co. Tour.
With the music scene rising, the “Sun City” also saw a demand for many local promotion companies. Johnny Escalante, Co-Founder of J&K Promotions, also took this opportunity to start his own promotion company and help bring many well-known artists and DJ’s to El Paso…