Though touted as a celebration of street culture, the third annual Urban Fest became a melting pot. Last Sunday’s indoor-outdoor event at the Laredo Civic Center attracted various styles of expression from grunge skateboarders to lowrider car club members. Organizer Dave Perez said it was all about good vibrations.
“It was diverse, and everybody respected everybody,” he said. “It was just such positive energy.”
Perez, who also organized the last two festivals, said he and his staff started out with two-thousand entry bracelets but, with less than three hours to go, ran out. This indicates to him the event attracted double what it did last year.
“It’s Laredo. They came out to support their local businesses, local artists and local talent,” Perez said.
Among these local go getters was 17-year-old Elle King, who promoted a clothing brand she’s developing: Thug Kitten.
King explained, “When you think of a thug, you think of someone who’s been through a lot. Someone’s who’s wiser. But the kitten part represents approachable. I think it’s like that thug spirit with a softer side too.”
With music provided by rock bands outside and DJs indoors, visitors had many forms of art from which to choose. One could get his face painted or arm tattooed. Or, one could hear some poetry.
Laredo BorderSlam Poetry members read their work periodically throughout the day and sold chapbooks. BorderSlam founder Roberto “Chibbi” Orduña said they sold out.
“We actually sold our chapbooks to people who were probably unfamiliar with slam, so it’s a great way to spread awareness of it,” he said.
On the athletic side, a local mixed martial arts training camp put on an exhibition and the Laredo Wrestling Alliance offered up several matches and a battle royal.
Reflecting on the overall event, Perez said the diversity of urban expression present reflects positively for Laredo.
“Laredo’s getting more accepting of different people, different ideas,” he said. “I would invite all of Laredo to come out for next year’s, which will be even bigger.”