Austin, Dallas and Houston are known for their music festivals such as JMBLYA, Austin City Limits, Free Press Summer Fest, South by Southwest and many others. However, Mala Luna is playing a major role in San Antonio’s growth as a musical destination.
This past weekend, the two-day hip-hop and electronic dance music, or EDM, music festival drew 50,000 fans at Nelson Wolff Stadium. The lineup featured the biggest names in music such as Lil Wayne, Future, Migos, Trae the Truth, Khalid, Afrojack, and many local artists.
Despite the cold weather, Mala Luna artists performed in front of a sea of people facing The Beat and the Lone Star stages. Nestled between the stages were VIP Sections, which cost $209 for two days. The festival featured live art, food trucks, alcohol, IV station’s, an arcade and tons of free water.
The festival is in its second year, but many San Antonians felt this star studded festival was long overdue.
Just three years ago, San Antonians had to travel to Austin, Houston and Dallas for a music festival. Now locals can take a short drive — and for some a walk — to Mala Luna. The festival is even attracting music goers from other major cities in Texas as well.
San Antonio native David Trevino, 18, and his friends were pressed against the safety fence, awaiting Migos — A Lawrenceville, Georgia based rap group — to perform. Trevino was asked if San Antonio was overlooked as a music destination, and his response, “hell yeah,” was similar to the dozens of people around him who agreed with, “Yes, yeah, for sure.”
“San Antonio is definitely slept on as (a) music spot, the music environment here is great,” Trevino said. “All we needed was a chance and here we are.”
The Mesquite spoke to several San Antonio artists, including Bamsworth Beli, Xavier Omar and Lil Yoda. They all felt San Antonio, in the past, was underestimated as a live music destination.
Omar praised San Antonians for their persistence in demanding big name artists for the city, which resulted in festivals like Mala Luna and Botánica Music and Arts Festival — a festival set to take place in the spring.
“People are starting to see that San Antonio is a great market,” Omar said. “Artists are noticing that they are selling out shows every time they come to the city.”
Omar, who is touring the country, believes that San Antonio is now being taken seriously as a market for music. Omar, who’s collaborated with Noname Gypsy and Mick Jenkins, said he wants all San Antonio artists to succeed.
“When you think of New York, Los Angeles, Houston or Atlanta, you have to name a ton of artists,” Omar said. “That’s how I want San Antonio to be. I don’t want to be the only guy. I want to be a guy apart of a long line of talented artists from the city.”
Bamsworth said Mala Luna is the biggest venue he’s performed at, but see’s the festival as an opportunity to grow as an artist.
“It’s a blessing I was able to perform in front of a huge audience like that, in my city,” said Bamsworth, who’s face is on a billboard overseeing Old Highway 90 West and Southwest 36th Street. “This is great for local artists, and now there are bigger things to conquer.”
Trevino attends many festivals and was hopeful for San Antonio moving forward.
“Look at the lineup, man. It’s the same people (ScoreMore) that do JMBLYA and they always put on great shows,” Trevino said as his friends echoed him. “I mean we have Future, Lil Wayne and Migos. That is so dope.”
Mala Luna’s cemented itself in the music scene and San Antonians can claim the annual music festival as their own. Valerie Herrera, 18, said her favorite artists rarely come to San Antonio, and if they do she can’t enjoy them in an outdoor atmosphere.
“Look at all of these people. We never come together like this. We don’t have ACL. We don’t have JMBLYA. We don’t even have Coachella,” Herrera said. “Mala Luna is our Coachella.”