Pachanga! Is Making Memories Into A Movement

Photos by Mike Sager and Julian Carr

Photos by Mike Sager and Julian Carr

The common description of a Pachanga is “a genre of music which is described as a mixture of Latin music with an accompanying signature style of dance. This type of music has a festive, lively style and is marked by jocular, mischievous lyrics.” Pachanga! is a groundbreaking Chicago events company exemplifying this description. Whether the ever-changing monthly musical acts, creative flyers, or paletas passed out before the event, Pachanga! stays  100% true to its roots, and the result is a citywide movement.

The idea of Pachanga! started when Daniel Martinez and Memo Duarte crossed paths two years ago, thanks to their mutual connection, Michael Goebel,  who is now a content creator and member of Pachanga. At the time, Daniel was hustling around the city setting up various events at East Room, and Memo was hosting his prominent event named Público. “Once we connected, we started brainstorming ideas, I [Daniel] had my connections at East Room and Memo had many connections to people in the local music scene, due to his college radio show and event experience.” Together, they decided on setting up a monthly event at East Room, celebrating Latino culture.

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A Wednesday night party is ambitious, especially for a first time event in the city. However, the Pachanga crew believed in the freshness of their idea and their ability to reinvent themselves each month. “At the end of the day people want to bring in the Latino crowd. We knew we had a niche and it was going to be one of the only Wednesday parties in the city. We bet on our creativity, that it would result in a consistently packed venue because of its attention to promoting Latino music/culture” Daniel stated. The first few months of the party was a trial period,  experimenting with different themes and ideas. They eventually started seeing traction from their ideas such as a Brazilian Samba themed party, Zombie Quinceanera party for Halloween, and flying in an LA DJ who played a mixture of reggaeton and EDM. Constantly bringing new ideas to Pachanga! for the guests each month has the party gaining traction fast. “We change the style of music each month from salsa, cumbia, reggaeton, house, banda, Hispanic tribute bands, we even change what we pass out to our guests based on theme, in the winter it’s Hot Cheetos or in summer its paletas. These are just things we love, this is a great way to show people from other cultures what we grew up on.”

Photo by Carolina Sanchez

Photo by Carolina Sanchez

Aside from pulling from their memories of growing up in the culture, the crew cites exploring other cities together as a source for new ideas. “Last year a group of us made a trip out to LA to gain more inspiration for ideas and be in the culture. We definitely pay attention to Chicago and its festivals for inspiration. But going to LA where they have a very established scene in Latino culture and music helped us pick up on certain new things.” A dedication to authenticity and exploration has driven them to blow up with each party, having lines around East Room, and eventually growing to 10 members deep in their crew aside from the curators Daniel & Memo. Each member of the group has a specific role to make the special experience of the event come together.

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Pachanga’s creative content/promotional side runs 8 deep-  Alexandra Castro innovates as Pachanga’s lead graphic designer and brand manager. Frank Sono, Juan Rangel, Katy Li Zea, Alex Palma, and Francisco Noyola contribute to the production/promotional elements of Pachanga from social media, videography, photography, day of of event visuals and audio engineering. Fernando Doppel serves as host/reporter of Pachanga’s content.

On the night of events, Pachanga taps into 3 people who keep the night moving  smoothly. Décima is one of our host and personalities, Michael Goebel serves as our hype man, content creator and public relations and Joslyn Marie Alvarado is one of our star curators and photographers who brings cool vendors/artists from all over Chicago. “ says Memo. The movement of Pachanga even extends outside of america as such as Cris Wright, who is Pachanga’s ambassador from Ecuador who helps bridge international musicians to Chicago.” A team as deep as the 96’ bulls, it’s no surprise their events stay fresh.

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Pachanga! Already has plenty of accomplishments to reflect on. “2018 has been an amazing year of growth for us. We’ve had the blessing to dj at North Coast Music Festival, Wicker Park Fest, Navy Pier, world music festival, and the Xicago Red Bull Chicago event in November. For us it’s always growing and being smart about how we operate. We’ve been able to experiment and see what works to reach new audiences”. Monetarily, Pachanga funds most of their events themselves, betting that their ideas will have a positive ROI. “For us, we’ve made sacrifices to make this party happen, but we believe in our authenticity, we want to be tastemakers in Chicago. Pachanga is very inclusive, we want to make sure we’re showcasing the community, we think that why there’s so many different types of people at our events. Whether it’s an artist who painting a badass Selena piece or you might even meet a lawyer. Pachanga is a place where you can feel comfortable being yourself. At the end of day, Pachanga is a family party. You’re going to hear bass, cumbia, horns from salsa, maybe house music. It’s good music, live music, this isn’t a regular family party, and this is one with a band in it. Different people, different music every month, you’re going to say you’ll stay out till midnight but you’ll be out till 4am. That’s our goal” Memo stated.

As far as the future, Pachanga has its eyes set on bigger and better things coming in 2019 -new partnerships, new venues, and expanding their audience. “For 2019, we have a few different special events. Being granted creative control over a stage at Wicker park fest showed what we can really do with an investment behind everything, that’s the future for us. In 2018, we proved we can put on dope events for music festivals, to street fests, and East Room. We just have to continue to we try to be super consistent with our values and everything will fall in place.” 29% of Chicago’s population may only be Hispanic, but you should be 100% confident that this group will continue to put on for the city. Next time you have the opportunity to attend their event, don’t miss your chance.

For up to date info on each monthly event follow @PachangaChicago for more details.