With less than 40 days until the inaugural Botánica Music Festival’s opening set, organizers on Tuesday announced 10 additions to the lineup of performers, and named food and beverage ambassadors who plan to add more local flavor to the March 3 event.
Featuring current and iconic pop, EDM, hip-hop, and rock acts at the national, regional, and local levels, the latest additions include emerging EDM star from Los Angeles, Ookay; San Antonio's own Blake; and EDM duo Sofi Tukker.
Part of the original lineup, then removed due to a scheduling conflict, hip-hop performer Bishop Briggs is back on the slate for the first-of-its-kind festival.
Billed as DJ Diesel, former NBA star and Cole High School graduate Shaquille O'Neal will join Logic, Deftones, Alessia Cara, and Lil Yachty in headlining Botánica.
Originally a two-day festival set to take place in Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ parking lot, organizers in early January announced that Botánica would instead be a one-day event and take place inside the active amusement park.
All attendees will have full access to the park's rides and nine roller coasters, including the new Wonder Woman Golden Lasso, slated to open in time for the festival.
With Tuesday’s music lineup news – what Botánica group co-founder David Heard called another surge in the “waterfall announcements” that are common in the music festival industry – also came an announcement about food and beverage for the event.
Along with entertainment, Botánica will feature fare unique to the festival, in addition to the park’s usual eats. Showcasing local cuisine is a growing trend among city music festivals, Heard said, citing Phoenix’s first such festival, Lost Lake, held last October, as an example.
“It’s a huge opportunity to not just celebrate music, but to also celebrate your city and the culture of that place that makes it unique,” Heard said. “And when you start getting into culture, food and drink is always at the top of the list.”
While the menu and chefs won’t be announced for another week or so, Heard said three local food and beverage ambassadors are now on board as partial owners and curators of the festival.
Renowned local chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres, recently named among the 12 best new chefs in the United States by Food & Wine Magazine, will curate a list of at least 12 local food trucks that will be stationed throughout the park during the festival as well as a special menu for the VIP Village.
“We will have chefs from all over the state – Houston, Dallas, Austin, a lot of local talent, – some [James] Beard [Award]-nominated chefs,” Galicia said. “This is going to be a more elevated food festival within the music fest.”
Galicia and Torres own the reservations-only restaurant Mixtli in Olmos Park. Described as progressive Mexican culinaria, Mixtli recently reopened following a two-week renovation that Galicia said cost double the opening budget.
“Diego brings incredible experience to the table,” Heard said. “He has this entire journey of food that is trans-border that sets him up to not only curate flavors locally, but have a regional sense of what’s important and what he’d like to highlight given his far-ranging palate.”
Cocktail enthusiast Jeret Peña, whose Boulevardier Group operates The Brooklynite, The Last Word, Rumble, Tucker’s Kozy Korner, and the forthcoming Still Golden also joins the Botánica ownership team.
Peña will design a list of cocktails for the VIP Village, and is working with local distilleries to come up with a “general admission” selection of cocktails as well. Those will be available at beverage stands throughout the park.
“Mayhem, anarchy, and love – that’s what I’m bringing to the festival,” Peña quipped when the Rivard Report first asked him about his plans for Botánica.
He then added, “I’m going to provide people with great cocktails, Puro SA, that’s what I want … I think that’s important because we want to support local artisans. I care about my city. I love my city and the distilleries in the city, so I want them to be part of something that is going to be fantastic.”
As for an arts market at Botánica, Heard said that though it was difficult to put that together in the festival's first year, there will be a small selection of local art for sale alongside the standard merchandise available at most music festivals.
“Our vision is to create an arts market,” he said. “We are talking to a local lead artist/culturalist who will be joining us to lead that, but we are not ready to go public on that.”
Organizers are also working with an expert on local mariachi music to help them identify some acts, including student bands, to add to Botánica's slate, Heard said.
The festival is being financed by San Antonio tech giants Graham Weston and Lew Moorman, among others. When Botánica was first announced in late September, organizers faced backlash from community members who lamented the lack of local acts and felt the festival appropriated Mexican-American and indigenous culture to attract young talent.
Botánica tickets are still available. General admission for the one-day festival goes for $77.99, or $33.99 for Six Flags Season pass holders. VIP packages, which include free parking, are available starting at $174.99.