The (Controversial?) International Accordion Festival

This weekend, accordion lovers will flock to San Antonio for the 9th annual International Accordion Festival. This free, two-day outdoor festival always features a stellar lineup of concerts and workshops featuring accordionists from around the world in a variety of genres — from Balkan to Basque, Acadian to Arabic, and beyond. Performers at this year’s festival include Buckwheat Zydeco, Guy Klucevsek, Ivan Milev, the George Lammam Ensemble, and many others. There’s also a pre-festival concert on Friday night featuring conjunto/Tejano greats like Mingo Saldivar and Joel Guzman.

So where’s the controversy? Some conservatives have singled out the $25,000 grant given to the festival by the National Endowment of the Arts as an example of misguided government spending during the economic downturn. The SA Current has a good rebuttal from festival organizers, as well as local restaurant and shop owners who benefit greatly from the tourists that the festival draws to downtown San Antonio. Clearly anyone who doesn’t think an accordion festival will help stimulate the economy — or at least stimulate the people attending — has never been to an accordion festival.


  1. We played the festival 2 years ago and I’m here to tell you that it is not only a great experience for the performers, but a real boost to the local economy. All the restaurants and bars were full along the Riverwalk and the vendors at the festival were doing lots of business. It’s fully warrants the grant from the gov!

    Paul Rogers/ Those Darn Accordions

  2. Sounds like the kind of thing that would be fun to spend a day or two on! San Antonio is a little… far, though. XD

  3. The International Accordion Festival is a truly one of a kind event that San Antonio makes come to life. The International Accordian Festival at La Villita and the Arneson River Theater is something my family, friends, and community looks forward to every single year.

    You cannot put a pricetag on culture. And 25 grand is money well spent. The true waste of public money is bailing out big business losers who live by the sword and fail to die because of bailouts. The truly criminal financial maleficence is the Federal Reserve purchasing T-Bills directly from the Treasury and driving the interest rate down past zero!

    ¡Viva Accordion!
    ¡Muerte a la inflación!

    When these Great Pirates make their Cash Heists as described in Buckminster Fuller’s “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”, the only thing that working class people have left is their culture. And ase monetary policy of our great nation is highjacked and we’re all in the crapper, you’re going to be damn happy to dance around the accordion’s sweet solace!

    ¡Viva Accordion!
    ¡Muerte a la inflación!

  4. Good work Festival people! I’d like to see the San Antonio Tejano/Conjunto festival get NEA funding, too.

  5. How do I find out more on playing and attending the International Accordion Festival? Thank you.