by Linda Ray
When Hotel Congress launched the first HoCo Fest over Labor Day Weekend in 2005, the celebration featured popular Tucson bands and musicians who had been part of the Old Pueblo's bubbling-under scene 20 years earlier, at a time when Arizona bands like The Meat Puppets, The Gin Blossoms, Green on Red, The Sidewinders (now Sand Rubies) and Gentlemen After Dark were signed to national labels, and Tucson could 'a been a contender for the notoriety that went, ultimately, to Seattle. The event was a homecoming not only for musicians of the era, but for fans, promoters, writers, groupies and everyone who was a part of the scene in the day, many of whom traveled to Tucson from all around the country for the occasion..
The homecoming component was such a hit that each year since then, part of the fest has been devoted to 80s Arizona bands, and to their fans. In the four-day, 2013 HoCo Fest, surrounded by imported 80's-beat bands, dance-crazy Latin revival energy, a patio-wide art/craft/music fair, daily barbecue and an impressive roster of current indie acts, some all- time home-state rock stars shown through. The Pistoleros, River Roses, Sand Rubies (nee Sidewinders), Dead Hot Workshop, Billy Sedlmayr and Kid Bad, Ned Sutton and the Rabbits, and the Frank and Woody Show all amped up the reverie.
Walter Salas-Humara, who lived in New York most of the time he's fronted critical darlings The Silos, qualified to rock the Saturday afternoon bill by virtue of having now lived in Flagstaff for five years. On Sunday, Sedlmayr bridged all of the gaps by surrounding himself with talent from then and now, including Winston Watson and the current front men of Tucson's two most popular Latin dance acts.
C. Elliot's photos follow.