This story has been updated.

While San Antonio has lost its Fiesta celebrations in 2020, one group is working to keep city residents entertained.

Entertainment group Electric Fiesta, led by former Rey Feo Fred Reyes and Los Angeles producer Sid “Z” Zuber, is offering the “Electric Fiesta Week(ender)” festival, a five-day event Oct. 28-Nov. 1 at the Freeman Coliseum. The group held its first EDM Drive-In music festival in late June.

Zuber offered the event as an alternative to the traditional 10-day Fiesta, first postponed in March, then altogether canceled in July.

Scheduled to run over the Halloween holiday, Zuber said costumes will be encouraged for both attendees and their vehicles, and costume contests will run each night, with winners displayed on large video screens between DJ sets.

The first night will feature a Rocky Horror Picture Show sing-along, followed by a night of what Zuber called “non-essential” comedy on Thursday. Friday and Saturday will mirror the prior EDM Drive-In event with multiple DJs, including a local stage. DJs will be announced in the coming weeks, Zuber said.

This time Zuber will double the number of full-color argon lasers to ramp up the spectacle and enhance the festival’s concluding performance, featuring members of Pink Floyd performing Dark Side of the Drive-In: A Social Distancing Pink Floyd Experience.

Attendees will enter the coliseum lot through a “haunted drive-in tunnel,” which Zuber said will be filled with dense fog and lighting effects, and gift bags similar to those given out at the first event, with glow sticks and sponsored goods, will be handed out.

The new EDM Week(ender) event will follow the same pandemic-era protocols as the June event, with attendees required to stay with their cars in designated, socially-distanced parking areas, limited attendance, and “ambassadors” in roving golf carts to help ensure safety protocols are observed. Music from featured DJs will be streamed through car radios on an FM band.

Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m., with similar “squad” arrangements for groups of four people, with additional single tickets available. Multiple-day passes will also be available for those who want to attend more than one event, Zuber said. Attendees of the June drive-in event will receive a discount for the new festival.

Zuber estimated that up to 50 cars did not make it to the first night of the prior festival, likely due to new pandemic restrictions being issued by Bexar County and the City of San Antonio just days before the EDM Drive-In began. Those who were unable to attend will be offered special 50 percent discounts for the EDM Week(ender) event, he said.

Though EDM, or electronic dance music, is usually performed in dance clubs, Zuber said the art form works for large outdoor gatherings because it brings people together, away from pandemic isolation but still safe.

“I’m really happy and really appreciate everyone for cooperating with us the first time out,” he said, emphasizing how closely attendees held to safety measures. “The people in San Antonio were so respectful at our event, it made me feel really good about what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

While creating large-scale entertainment gatherings during a global pandemic is a challenge, Zuber said, the goal of Electric Fiesta is simple. “Our whole purpose is to entertain people and connect people.”

Nicholas Frank

Nicholas Frank

Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with an indie rock...