San Benito approves $12,400 festival deal

SAN BENITO — Time is ticking as the city works to stage its first Resaca City Music Festival.

Last night, city commissioners approved a $12,400 proposal from Rock Solid Management to handle music production for the event set for Oct. 21 — on the weekend the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center had planned its annual Conjunto Festival.

“Currently, we’re working on the music lineup and production,” Luis Contreras, the city’s museum coordinator, told commissioners. “We are working to ensure a successful event.”

Contreras said a music line up has not been set.

Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez said time is ticking to book bands for the event.

“We’ve got to move fast,” Rodriguez said. “It’s very urgent we get something signed on these bands.”

Last week, commissioners approved the event, which Contreras said will feature a “diversity” of music genres.

In that meeting, City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said officials had considered focusing on conjunto music in the city billed as the birthplace of conjunto.

But officials wanted to draw a wider audience, De La Rosa said.

In last week’s presentation, Contreras said the festival will promote the city’s conjunto legacy.

“Resaca City Music Festival is designed to celebrate the city’s musical heritage by promoting the evolution of conjunto music through various genres,” he said as part of his PowerPoint presentation.

Last month, the city announced it was considering staging a music event after the arts center canceled its 26th annual three-day Conjunto Festival.

The city launched a new music festival “not necessarily in response to the cancellation but as a means to help raise funds for the San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum,” city spokeswoman Martha McClain stated earlier.

“It would not be a replacement of the Conjunto Festival,” she said.

Last month, Rogelio Nuñez, founder of the arts center, canceled the Conjunto Festival after the city charged $17,365 in fees.

For years, the city had charged the arts center significantly lower fees, Nuñez said.

During negotiations, the city proposed dropping fees to $7,000 to cover expenses such as security costs.

But negotiations broke down.

The city was also negotiating the arts center’s lease of the old library building that served as its headquarters for more than two decades.

The city is drafting new contracts for organizations leasing city-owed buildings, McClain stated.

About 20 years ago, the city offered the arts center a $1-per-year lease.

But that lease expired two years ago.

Late last month, the arts center vacated the old library building.

Nuñez has declined to disclose the arts center’s future.