By Crystal Harrell

Celebrating its 31st year, the world renowned Indio International Tamale Festival, is the largest Tamale Festival in the world, and continues to highlight the richness of Coachella Valley life, by encompassing music, art, cuisine and offering bilingual and multigenerational entertainment and experiences. Last year saw the festival grow into its home at Miles Avenue Park, and this December, it will return to this welcoming space in the heart of Indio.

“For over 30 years, the Indio International Tamale Festival highlights the rich cultural tapestry the city of Indio is known for. Being able to bring our community together through a celebration of heritage and joy is a great honor,” shared Indio City Manager, Bryan Montgomery.

The festival will be headlined by Grammy-nominated Mexican banda, K-Paz de la Sierra, whose signature Duranguense-style records echoed globally throughout the mid to late 2000’s. Son Rompe Pera co-headlines the festival with their trailblazing sound of ska-infused Cumbia-Punk, anchored by their infectious marimba instrumentation. A wide-range of direct support includes East L.A.’s psychedelic rockers Tropa Magica, Indie-crooner Estevie, legendary Chicana deejay Spinorita and indie rockers Yungatitta.


“This festival provides a unique opportunity to share cherished traditions with a wider audience. We are proud to have attendees coming back year after year to experience handcrafted, time-honored family recipes and the widest variety of handmade tamales to be found anywhere in the world,” said Montgomery.

Not to be missed, a debut festival performance from Doggyland, a 3-D animated series created by Snoop Dogg, October London and Claude Brooks (the Executive Producer of Hip Hop Harry). The show features a colorful cast of dogs in a vibrant world where they sing, rap and dance to fun and educational songs that teach learning and cognitive fundamentals for kids all around the world.

“This year, we’ll continue our Chavela Throwdown program featuring Luchadores and a beverage area with Michileadas. New in the area is a Meet & Greet with the fighters from Golden Boy Promotions. We’re excited for the live debut of Doggyland, which is an educational program co-created by Snoop Dogg. The carnival expands with some new family-friendly rides such as a Pirate Ship, Dino Coaster and Funnel Cakes. As always, we’re excited for our musical headliners; Grammy nominated K-Paz De La Sierra, who pioneered the Duranguense style of musica mexicana. We’re excited to share the music of Son Rompe Pera, whose infectious Cumbia-Punk will get the whole family dancing,” stated Gopi Sangha, the Director of the Indio International Tamale Festival.

Besides the music, the festival continues its curated Tamale Plaza presented by Vallarta Supermarkets. The Chavela Throwdown returns with over 20 featured luchadors performing throughout the weekend. Family favorite carnival rides return alongside Ballet Folklorico, a classic car show, mariachis, and a mercado retailing handcrafted goods, produce, records and plants.

“Our favorite part of the festival is taking part in a program that is engaging for the entire family and welcoming to the entire community,” revealed Sangha.

Since the Indio International 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 and has been voted as one of Food Network’s Top 10 All-American Food Festivals.

The City of Indio is the largest and fastest growing city in the Coachella Valley with more than 90,000 residents. Nearly 1.4 million people visit Indio every year to attend its world famous arts, food, and music festivals, and the city is ranked as one of the top emerging travel destinations in the country. Indio was also the first city incorporated in the Coachella Valley on May 16, 1930, and is the traditional gathering place of the desert, bearing the fruit of cultural exchange and youthful energy.

Admission is free for all ages, with VIP Passes available for purchase at VIP passes include access to unlimited carnival rides, admission to an exclusive VIP area, featuring premium viewing of Fantasy Springs Stage; (3) Tamales redeemable in VIP area; non-alcoholic beverages; elevated restrooms; seating & shade. Reserved Parking is available for purchase to VIP Pass holders.