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UNM students play bean bag toss on Johnson Field Saturday afternoon during Fiestas.
UNM students play bean bag toss on Johnson Field Saturday afternoon during Fiestas.

Review: UNM's outdoor festival satisfies

Hearing the words “miniature-Coachella” was a common happenstance at Fiestas this year, and to any attendee, the reasons for such a comparison were obvious, with the event taking on the very look and feel of a music festival.

The skies above may have been mainly overcast but the positive energy was palpable, with people coming and going for a good time throughout the day.

A t-shirt station offered Zia symbol and “Chipotle Game” prints, among other New Mexico-themed attire, while the enticing aroma of Latin fusion and Irrational Pie food vendors wafted across the lawn.

Hay bales and lounge chairs provided plenty of places for visitors to congregate and relax, a water station nearby kept everyone hydrated and a “no alcohol or drugs” policy emphasized safety for all.

Local clothing company Common Criminals sold T-shirts next to a free arts and crafts tent near the entrance, and in the middle of Fiestas, large canvases were set up for professional graffiti artists to show off their talent amid a group of revolving onlookers.

Students climbed and repelled a rock climbing wall erected on the grass and 50 feet away El Toro Loco provided thrills alongside crowd entertainment with their mechanical bull.

On the outside of the Fiestas enclosure people threw footballs and played hacky-sack, well within earshot of both the local and far-flung musical talent.

Ugly Robot opened the day’s festivities with a flavorful, fast-paced rock set. Described as “five friends doing the only thing that makes sense in life, making sweet jams and having fun,” their rhythm moved from quick and direct to slow and melodic without a hitch.

A local band founded in Albuquerque, the five-some led an altogether original performance, including a punk-rock cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” that easily rivaled the Atlanta super-group’s original.

Winner of this year’s Fight For Fiestas, Sol De La Noche, charged up the feel and pace of Fiestas right after, with their own brand of international sound.

If attendees closed their eyes, the heavy percussion, trumpets, keyboard and far-flung vocals whisked you away to the vibrant atmosphere of Latin America.

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The daytime lineup also included performances by Le Chat Lunatique, Repel The Robot and The Lonely Biscuits. Some highlights included covers of “Take a Walk On The Wild Side” by Katastro, the alternative rock band out of Tempe, Arizona and “The Heat of The Moment” performed by Sphynx, a “Space-Glam” band out of Austin, Texas.

Outfitted in loosely buttoned floral shirts, white-wash jeans and Italian boots, Sphynx, composed of Cory “Can’t Stop” Dennis, Aaron “Won’t Stop” Miller, Todd “Might Stop” Harris, appeared onstage as if out of a time machine from the 70’s, pulling off the look with ease.

The line continued to grow steadily during their performance, reaching its largest capacity by the time Del Tha Funky Homosapien appeared, with several crowds of impatient students jumping over the fence to gain entrance.

Del took the stage right as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. The MC came on in a camouflage hoodie, sweatpants and copper high-tops, encapsulating the definition of cool, laid-back and of course, funky.

“The funk is back baby,” Del announced. Within moments of introducing himself, the Oakland, California native launched into an array of music from his catalogue.

Switching between original work and hits from his alter-ego Deltron, the change was evident in his robot-esque vocals as he gravitated physical movement with the beats like a human equalizer.

Before closing out his set with a few classics, Del addressed the crowd in relation to his own oddball persona.

As the sun took its final departure into the horizon, Slow Magic started on the second stage behind a large turntable with a giant Boba Fett-shaped feline-esque mask on.

Electronica filled the space and crowds started filing in around the second stage as the DJ mixed samples of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” over heavy beats to start her set.

Carnage took over as the finale on the main stage to the biggest audience of the night. Numerous attendees sat on shoulders and crowd-surfed, rising in waves with the music.

During the Guatemalan DJ’s set, he remixed Tetris sound effects with cuts from House Of Pain’s “Jump Around.”

Altogether, Fiestas 2015! went off without incident and many in attendance left satisfied.

Matthew Reisen is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @DailyLobo.


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