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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone that lives in, or visits frequently, Guanajuato City tell me about the music scene?

Specifically - Are there venues/clubs in town that have Jazz, Rock, Pop etc.?

Is there any support for this type of music, at a local level?

Thanks!
 

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OK, this one is definitely in my wheel house!

I lived in Guanajuato for 5 years (2009-2014) and played music professionally there that whole time. I played mostly jazz and classical music but I also did some gigging with a group that played some more rock type venues. Here's a breakdown by genre:

Classical: There are a number of places offering regular concert series of classical music. Several museums have weekly series, the Casa de Cultura has regular events and also coordinates statewide tours, the Festival Cervantino presents local performers each year as well. The state symphony is based in Gto as well so there are concerts put on by offshoots of that organization too.

Jazz: There are a couple of small venues that have jazz on a regular basis - pay is poor but they let you do what you wish and people do come out to listen. Also, almost all of the museums and cultural organizations I mentioned above present some degree of jazz along with the classical offerings. Again, sometimes pay can be pretty good.

So the good news is that for "art" music like classical and jazz it is a pretty good scene and the pay is not too bad in most cases. Sometimes it is quite good. You need to be a very good musician though, because the symphony brings serious players from all over the world. Gigs are earned on merit rather than "how many tickets can you sell" like in the US because the venues have a governmental budget and they want to fill their series with excellent concerts. Luckily for me, this is mostly what I play so it worked well (even though I sure still love to rock out from time to time!).

Now for the bad news if you want to play anything other than "art" music...

Rock/Pop: There are a few venues that are happy to let you play for free or for the door. There used to be one that paid a decent rate but they sold to a new owner and that's over. There is no government money for pop music, so if you want to earn any money, you have to find or create your own gigs. It's mostly cover bands that aren't so good that play around town in the few bars. If you want to do original music it is a very tough row to hoe. Simply finding a place to play original music is hard enough but getting any pay is almost impossible.

After saying all of the above, I will tell you that now that we have moved back to Mexico, we decided to move to Queretaro instead of returning to Guanajuato. The scene in Gto. is a little small and provincial feeling and both Queretaro and San Miguel de Allende have larger scenes and more options for musicians. I had fun in Guanajuato and still adore the city but I found being the big fish in the small pond limited my options a little too much and since Guanajuato is only 90 minutes from Queretaro, I can still easily return to play concerts on a regular basis.

If you have any other questions, fire away!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your detailed response!!

In your experience, are there experienced musicians in the Guanajuato or San Miguel areas that would be capable of performing in an american rock, pop, funk type band?
Are there enough venues/clubs to perform somewhat regularly, for good musicians?
Is there support for those styles/

Curious - what instrument do you play? What's your musical background, if you don't mind me asking?

Thanks again.
Cheers!
 

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Thanks for your detailed response!!
You are very welcome!

I'll answer your questions one by one.

In your experience, are there experienced musicians in the Guanajuato or San Miguel areas that would be capable of performing in an american rock, pop, funk type band?
For that style I think you would need to be in San Miguel. There are a number of players there who are pro level and work in the rock/pop/funk genre. Less so in Guanajuato.

Are there enough venues/clubs to perform somewhat regularly, for good musicians?
That depends on whether you are trying to earn a living, or just play for enjoyment. If you need to earn a living you will have to travel a bit more widely than just the Bajio region to work enough to make ends meet. If you just want to play for the joy of it, then you can kind of make your own circuit in Mexico. That is part of the fun of it for me.
On a related note -- you will need to have legal permission to work in Mexico to get paid. So, you'll either have to get permanent residency or else get temporary residency with an add on work permit. Otherwise, you just might get your keester deported.


Is there support for those styles?
In San Miguel somewhat, thanks to all the extranjeros. In Guanajuato only a little. Other areas of the country vary. However, it is a fact that Mexicans just love music and if it moves them they are into it. If you kick some booty, people will get behind what you are doing to some degree.

Curious - what instrument do you play? What's your musical background, if you don't mind me asking?
My principal instrument is guitar but I play several other stringed instruments as well. I earned a degree in music and have toured the world for some 30+ years both as a solo artist and as a member of different groups. As a matter of fact, I was on a solo concert tour of Mexico when I met my now wife and decided to move here! Since I had toured Mexico several times previous to moving, I had a number of contacts and Mexican musical cohorts so I was able to hit the ground running as it were. Just like anywhere in the world, contacts are key.

If you give me some similar info about yourself, I might be able to suggest some approaches if/when you get ready to make your move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again for all the information!

Good to know there are pro level players in San Miguel.

As for myself, I'm a drummer with over 40 years experience. I've played rock, pop, fusion, acoustic, jazz etc. , done a fair amount of theater work as a musician, studio work, and toured the west coast of the U.S. and Germany. I'm currently in an Alt. 80's cover band and an original acousti-funk-pop band.

I'd definitely get the proper permits if/when I were to enter into a gig making $. Legal and smooth is always a good approach! : )

Another question - do you know where/how any of these types of bands rehearse? Typically, now I just rehearse at my home studio.

Thanks again!
 

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Bands in Mexico generally rehearse at someone's house... or a home studio if one is available among the band members. Noise is everywhere in Mexico, so disturbing the neighbors is a non-issue. Metal bands rehearse in apartments and no one complains!! I rehearsed with a New Orleans style jazz group in the drummer's back yard.

Are you planning a move to Guanajuato in the near future, or are you doing research for a possible later move?
 

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Bands in Mexico generally rehearse at someone's house... or a home studio if one is available among the band members. Noise is everywhere in Mexico, so disturbing the neighbors is a non-issue. Metal bands rehearse in apartments and no one complains!! I rehearsed with a New Orleans style jazz group in the drummer's back yard.
Disturbing the neighbors can be an issue in some situations. For example, if a metal band tried to rehearse in my little building, I'd call the police!
 

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Disturbing the neighbors can be an issue in some situations. For example, if a metal band tried to rehearse in my little building, I'd call the police!
You could call the police but I doubt they would even show up. Seems in Mexico you can make all the noise in the world you want.

The municipality water company (we are on a well) stopped paying CFE for electricity. So CFE cut them off. For the last five weeks or so the water company is running a nearby well using a diesel powered generator about the size of a 20 foot container. It has been going 24 X 7. There are a lot of people who are a lot closer (a lot more impacted than us) but it is still far from peaceful. Apparently there are 10 or so of these wells scattered about now on generators.
 

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You could call the police but I doubt they would even show up. Seems in Mexico you can make all the noise in the world you want.
I've never called them, because usually a visit from the "vecina del 13" around midnight will put an end to the noise. However, on at least a couple of occasions, one of my neighbors called the police and they did show up I guess it depends on where you live.
 

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I've never called them, because usually a visit from the "vecina del 13" around midnight will put an end to the noise. However, on at least a couple of occasions, one of my neighbors called the police and they did show up I guess it depends on where you live.
Picture the amps at a Led Zeppelin concert. Some of our neighbors have setups like that when they throw a party. Fortunately for us that doesn't happen all that often.

My wife recently met a guy from France (with two young kids) who just purchased two adjacent lots in our community. During daylight hours, particularly on a weekday, the area he is planning to build is really tranquil - but on occasion his neighbors can make a TON of noise - and no one can do anything about it. Round here - you can do whatever you want on your own land.
 

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Disturbing the neighbors can be an issue in some situations. For example, if a metal band tried to rehearse in my little building, I'd call the police!
I wouldn't play loud music in an apartment, nor in any place nor at any time of day/night that would bother neighbors. I am hyper-sensitive to sound, especially music, so I would not ever inflict my sounds upon people who didn't ask for it. Plus, I am conditioned by growing up in the US to think that you just can't do those things.

But in Mexico...

Even in our somewhat upscale neighborhood in Guanajuato the neighbors would regularly have parties outdoors with a giant rented sound system blasting music starting at midnight and going until 6 AM. Not just one neighbor would do it regularly, but several.

Where we are at now with my wife's family in Mexico City, the all night fiesta is a weekly occurrence, in fact it is several times a week during the holidays. Another favorite activity is to park their car under our bedroom window at 3 AM and open the car doors and crank the stereo as loud as it will go and drink beer. The local police cruiser usually stops by for a cold one (we watch it all out the bedroom window) and the music does not abate during nor after said police visit. The police seem to enjoy the free beer, music and socializing.

I don't think the police will do much about noise - much as I wish they would.

Even so, I still love living in Mexico. Mexicans love music and I love that fact -- I just wish they would restrain the hours they blast it.
 

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I wouldn't play loud music in an apartment, nor in any place nor at any time of day/night that would bother neighbors. I am hyper-sensitive to sound, especially music, so I would not ever inflict my sounds upon people who didn't ask for it. Plus, I am conditioned by growing up in the US to think that you just can't do those things.

But in Mexico...

Even in our somewhat upscale neighborhood in Guanajuato the neighbors would regularly have parties outdoors with a giant rented sound system blasting music starting at midnight and going until 6 AM. Not just one neighbor would do it regularly, but several.

Where we are at now with my wife's family in Mexico City, the all night fiesta is a weekly occurrence, in fact it is several times a week during the holidays. Another favorite activity is to park their car under our bedroom window at 3 AM and open the car doors and crank the stereo as loud as it will go and drink beer. The local police cruiser usually stops by for a cold one (we watch it all out the bedroom window) and the music does not abate during nor after said police visit. The police seem to enjoy the free beer, music and socializing.

I don't think the police will do much about noise - much as I wish they would.

Even so, I still love living in Mexico. Mexicans love music and I love that fact -- I just wish they would restrain the hours they blast it.
After reading about your noisy, inconsiderate neighbors, I'm glad I live in a fairly quiet area. The answer is earplugs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bands in Mexico generally rehearse at someone's house... or a home studio if one is available among the band members. Noise is everywhere in Mexico, so disturbing the neighbors is a non-issue. Metal bands rehearse in apartments and no one complains!! I rehearsed with a New Orleans style jazz group in the drummer's back yard.

Are you planning a move to Guanajuato in the near future, or are you doing research for a possible later move?
Yes, I am familiar with all the music you hear regularly in Mexico. I tend to build out a place for myself/band and keep the disturbances to pretty much non-existent. To me it's not worth the hassle.

A move is most likely on the horizon but the opportunity to play music with decent musicians, and fairly regularly, is definitely a deciding factor.
 

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Yes, I am familiar with all the music you hear regularly in Mexico. I tend to build out a place for myself/band and keep the disturbances to pretty much non-existent. To me it's not worth the hassle.
I doubt you'll bother anyone!

A move is most likely on the horizon but the opportunity to play music with decent musicians, and fairly regularly, is definitely a deciding factor.
I think that you won't have too much problem with finding decent opportunities. Of course, you'll have to hustle to make people aware of your presence at first (same as you would in any city) but once you get some "ins", there are plenty of things to do. It doesn't sound like earning money is a principal concern for you, so that will open up even more possibilities.

Based on your stylistic preferences, I'd steer you towards San Miguel over Guanajuato but then again, the cities are only an hour apart and I liked living in Gto. Heck, I frequently drove an hour to gigs and rehearsals when I lived in the Chicago area.

Plus, San Miguel puts you only 45 minutes from Queretaro, which has its own music scene (ask me in 6-9 months and I'll be able to tell you a lot more about the Queretaro scene!). San Miguel kind of sits in the middle between Gto ad Qro.
 

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Bands in Mexico generally rehearse at someone's house... or a home studio if one is available among the band members. Noise is everywhere in Mexico, so disturbing the neighbors is a non-issue. Metal bands rehearse in apartments and no one complains!! I rehearsed with a New Orleans style jazz group in the drummer's back yard.

Are you planning a move to Guanajuato in the near future, or are you doing research for a possible later move?
Personally, I'd be thrilled to have neighbours who practiced New Orleans style jazz in their backyard... I used to live next door to a tenor opera singer (shared wall) and he would always apologize when practicing. I assured him I quite enjoyed the free concert!
 

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Personally, I'd be thrilled to have neighbours who practiced New Orleans style jazz in their backyard... I used to live next door to a tenor opera singer (shared wall) and he would always apologize when practicing. I assured him I quite enjoyed the free concert!
And I'm sure that attitude is part of the reason why you are having a grand time living in Mexico! (at least as far as I can tell from your posts)

One has to learn to enjoy going with the flow a bit to be able to live happily in Mexico. I have definitely had to make some adjustments but once I do adjust to living more "a la mexicana", my overall happiness level goes up.

Fortunately, 95% of the music I play these days is played at a very modest volume level so I don't have to worry too much about bothering folks when rehearsing.
 

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Round here it is not uncommon for a party to start at 6PM on a Friday and continue without interruption until 2PM on a Sunday. The volume is often turned up as high as it will go. There is zero consideration for others. I'm just stating fact - not passing judgement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Seems like if I just make sure I have a good rehearsal spot to practice, network as usual, and possibly put together shows in San Miguel, GTO and QRO it should be satisfying for what I'm looking for at least to get started.
Thanks to everyone for all the feedback!
 

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Round here it is not uncommon for a party to start at 6PM on a Friday and continue without interruption until 2PM on a Sunday. The volume is often turned up as high as it will go. There is zero consideration for others. I'm just stating fact - not passing judgement.
Where do you live? It sounds awful, and I am passing judgment, by the way. ;)
 
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