Thirty years after Tejano music legend Selena Quintanilla performed in Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the city of Fort Worth and Main Street America are partnering on an event called “Bidi Bidi Back to the Park” headlined by the Selena Forever Tribute Band.
The May 6 concert is the first in a series of events at Marine Park titled “Sonidos Del Summer.”
Ivan Gutierrez, Main Street project manager for the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said that placemaking, or reviving the cultural activities in a specific area, is one of the main goals of the series.
“Everything used to happen there [at Marine Park],” he said. “There’s been presidential campaigns that have stopped there. It’s a major focal point in the Northside, but it had been forgotten … and I think that’s kind of where the project was trying to fill the gap. What can we do to bring it back to life, to make it something that the community feels welcome?”
If you go
What: Bidi Bidi Back to the Park
Time: 5 – 10 p.m.
Date: May 6
Location: Marine Park
303 NW 20th St.
Fort Worth, TX 76164
Creating an accessible series of events with dancing, music and food trucks that the whole family could attend and enjoy was key, Gutierrez said.
“Not everyone can afford to feed a family of four or five from a food truck, so we’re leaving it accessible for families to bring … their water, Cokes, sandwiches, snacks and whatever they need to enjoy the night without having to break the bank,” he said.
Husband and wife Esteban Rojas and Carymel Rodríguez are the cofounders and two members of the Selena Forever Tribute band that will headline the May 6 event.
“I’ve loved her music since I was a kid and I’ve been singing her music since then,” Rodríguez said.
“We feel really proud to be playing at the same place Selena played 30 years ago and to help revitalize the park,” Rojas added.
Their group will play two 45-minute sets highlighting both the artist’s major hits as well as some of her lesser played songs.
Dancers from Ballet Folklorico de Fort Worth, Inc. will also perform at the Sonidos Del Summer event, presenting traditional dances from different regions in Mexico.
The group has roughly 80 performances a year at venues ranging from the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo to the Kimbell Art Museum, and they are excited to take part in the event at Marine Park, Artistic Director Carmen Garcia said.
“Our mission is preserving the legacy of our ancestors through culture and dance,” she said. “It creates that pride, and I think sharing it with the community is important not only in learning about our culture, but having an appreciation for other cultures as well.”
‘It’s contagious if you get a group of people together having a good time’
Appreciating other cultures, and learning how to work together, is at the core of the performance that will be staged by the students from Artes de la Rosa’s Artes Academy, called “Streets of Selena.”
The play takes place in Lake Jackson, where the singer was born, days after she was killed and shows disparate groups of teens coming together to put together a tribute for their late hometown hero.
Artes’ resident playwright teaching artist and the production’s director, Rob Bosquez, said he welcomes the opportunity for his students to perform at the event and to give the community the chance to come together to celebrate something positive.
“I think it’s important for the community to gather, to celebrate, to enjoy each other’s company,” he said. “It’s contagious if you get a group of people together having a good time, it just kind of spreads through the neighborhood.”
As the series continues throughout the summer, he hopes that positive momentum will continue to build.
“Once you know someone, then it’s easy to befriend them or at least understand them, and I think that’s a big step (toward) everyone being there for each other and getting along as a community.”
Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.