Not only booze will be at Music Under the Stars this year — not your own, you'll have to buy it — so will mariachi music.
You may recall that last year the National Park Service, which runs the Chamizal National Memorial festival site, banned alcohol from the premises. This year, it has agreed to allow patrons, whose numbers dwindled precipitously, to buy food and alcohol at this year's free music series.
You also may recall that the traditional ranchera night closer was dropped because no mariachi groups applied for last year's festival, according to the city's Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, which puts on the series that started in 1983.
This year's MUTS will open June 10 with Albuquerque salsa group Ivon Ulibarri and Cafe Mocha and end Aug. 12, with California's Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles headlining.
Local favorite Sunny Ozuna will headline the June 17 show and Austin's inventive Grupo Fantasma follow June 24.
There will be no July 1 show (the series is on Sunday nights). Instead, the El Paso Wind Symphony will perform patriotic music on July 4, followed by the traditional fireworks.
The series continues with a reggae Beatles tribute band, Yellow Dubmarine (July 8), impressive newgrass band the Grascals (July 15), swing band Sarah King and the Smoke Rings (July 22), El Paso cumbia band Tropicalisimo Apache (July 29), and El Paso Motown tribute band the Big Easy on Aug. 5.
It's free, music starts at 7:30 p.m. and free shuttle buses will run starting at 6:30 p.m. from the El Paso Zoo parking lot for those who can't find a spot across the street at Bowie High School.
In other music news:
• Blues singer Kat Crosby and Azucar pianist Fernando Lechuga will take turns hosting the Art Lewis Birthday Jam, which returns at 6 p.m. May 6 at King's X, 4119 N. Mesa.
Crosby and her band will open and invite guitarists and other blues musicians to join in. Lechuga will follow and will invite Latin and jazz musicians to join in. The show will end at 10 p.m.
Local jazz, blues and sax icon Lewis, who died Jan. 31 in Houston, initiated the birthday jam in 1991 as a way to show off local musicians.
Birthday cake will be served — Lewis would have been 76 on April 13 — and Lucy's next door will have enchilada plates for $5.
• Fungi Mungle, Geronimo Black, Cuervo with Charlie Miller, the Dirt Kingz with Mike Nosenzo, Kevin Higgins, Sevnsoul and Bob Oso and the Musically Challenged Orchestra will play the Big Al's Big Benefit Bash from 1-10 p.m. May 6 at Aceitunas, 5200 Doniphan.
It's a fundraiser for local DJ Larry "Big Al" Jones, the longtime KLAQ jock, who is battling cancer and needs help with his medical bills.
Admission is a $5 donation at the door.
• The bill for Friday's album release party by the Royalty will be the same as the one they put together last March 30 at Tricky Falls.
Animal Spirits and the Black Coats will open the 7:30 p.m. show May 4 at Tricky Falls.
Admission is $5 at the door.
The Royalty, which has been touring the western side of the country, will release new album "Lovers" on May 8. It's their second overall and first for Victory Records, the Chicago label home of Between the Buried and Me, Emmure, Otep, Silverstein, Taproot (who opened for Godsmack last Friday at the new Socorro Entertainment Center) and Voodoo Glow Skulls.
The quintet has been playing most of the 12 songs from the album on tour, including that March 30 show. This will be the first time fans can have the new album jangly retro-pop, produced by Cameron Webb, in their hands, four days before the rest of the country can get it.
• The EPCC music department will strut its stuff with its annual "Spring Showcase" at 7 p.m. May 4 at the EPCC Transmountain Forum Theatre.
The EPCC Orchestra, EPCC Chorus and its mariachi group, Mariachi Real de El Paso, will perform.