In December of 2000, the Tamale Festival made the Guinness Book of World Records for its record attendance

Indio International Tamale Festival Turns 30

Mr. and Mrs. Tamale

INDIO — The world-renowned Indio International Tamale Festival, presented by the City of Indio and produced by Cusp Agency, celebrates its milestone 30th year in 2022, Dec. 1-4. The largest Tamale Festival in the world, has become a critical nexus point for not only the mighty masa but also the richness of Coachella Valley life, crisscrossing music, art, cuisine and celebrating transnational border culture.

Last year saw the festival reimagined and reinvigorated, and 2022 will further build upon that enhanced experience, starting with two additional evenings of programming. The new location of Miles Avenue Park boasts a more expansive grass and tree covered site that remains in the heart of Indio. The appointment of last year’s Tamale Fest award winner, Juan Carlos Barajas of Outside The Masa, to the position of Culinary Director, will see an even richer offering of Tamales and other regional deliciousness.

Rene Contreras, continues his curation of the expanded musical programming, with the composition of a kaleidoscopic sonic landscape which blazes through the Southwest, from genre defining veterans to cutting edge trailblazers. Through his Viva! Presents promotions and booking of Coachella’s Sonora stage, Contreras has become one of the region’s most progressive curatorial voices empowered by Southern California’s inherent musical bi-culturalism. His own recently announced Viva! Pomona Festival headlines local tumbado crooner, DannyLux, who made his debut festival performance at last year’s Tamale Festival.

This year’s festival will feature more than 40 musical acts, and offers a chance to see the emergent regional stars alongside treasured contemporaries and veterans. The festival will be headlined by Jaliscan banda legends Banda Machos, LA’s triumphant border straddling Grammy winning quartet La Santa Cecilia, SoCal hometown rock heroes Together Pangea, Tijuana’s trailblazing Nortec icons Bostich & Fussible and LA’s electro pioneer The Egyptian Lover. It’s a diaspora of sound and style befitting the richness and diversity of Indio, California and the shared identities of the Southwest.

Elsewhere look out for the rising desert stars Eddie Zuko from the Imperial Valley, Israel’s Arcade from Coachella, recent Sony signings the Mexican American female trio Conexion Divina from Yuma, AZ and the inspirational cumbia artist Julio Morones.

Besides the music and food, this year’s festival sees expanded operating hours with the debut of a festive holiday night market dubbed Mercadito de Noche which will offer families an opportunity to enjoy holiday lights, entertainment, food, vendors and attractions Thursday and Friday evening ahead of the festival. The festival continues its curated Tamale Plaza presented by Vallarta Supermarkets. The Chavela Throwdown returns with over 20 featured luchadors performing throughout the weekend. The World’s Biggest Bounce House returns and there will be Ballet Folklorico, a classic car show, mariachis, carnival rides, roller skating and a mercado retailing hand crafted goods, produce, records and plants.

Admission is free for all ages, with early-bird pricing for Attractions Passes and VIP Passes beginning on sale this Friday, November 4th at Attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the convenience and special early-bird pricing of Attractions Passes ahead of the festival. Available passes include: “All-Day Attractions,” featuring one admission to the World’s Biggest Bounce House, rock climbing, unlimited carnival rides and roller skating, as well as “Single Admission” to the World’s Biggest Bounce House.

Additional features for the 30th Anniversary includes a 2-day VIP Pass, good for both Saturday & Sunday. VIP passes include expedited entry into the festival, admission to an exclusive VIP area, featuring: premium viewing of Fantasy Springs Main Stage; (3) Tamales redeemable in VIP area; non-alcoholic beverages; elevated restrooms; seating & shade. Reserved Parking is available for purchase to VIP Pass holders.

Since the Tamale Festival’s first iteration in 1992, families and fans have lined up yearly for the widest variety of handmade tamales to be found anywhere in the world. In December of 2000, the festival made the Guinness Book of World Records for its record attendance of 120,000 people and has been voted as one of Food Network’s Top 10 All-American Food Festivals.

Image Sources

  • Tamales: visit Greater Palm Springs