Banda Los Recoditos, a U.S. and Latin Grammy-nominated band from Sinaloa, Mexico, will headline a new family festival and Friends of Children of Walla Walla fundraiser this summer.

The June 24 concert will feature three bands and a children’s festival in the three hours leading up to the show in a celebration of the Latino culture of Southeastern Washington, said Friends Executive Director Jim Byrnes.

A 30-by-40-foot stage will be brought in from Yakima to hold the 12-member Banda Los Recoditos. Tri-Cities band Innuzzio Norteno and Rafaga de Tierra Caliente of Yakima will also perform.

Tickets will be $35 if bought in advance. The price will go up to $45 the week of the event and at the gate. Tickets are expected to be available for purchase around mid-April.

The festival is expected to draw 5,000 to 7,000 attendees at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds.

Work on a website is under way, as is curation of sponsors to help with costs.

“If this is a success, there’s no telling what we can build from here,” Byrnes said Friday.

The fundraiser portion helps support the personnel needed to carry out the mission of the nonprofit Friends mentoring agency, which matches caring adult volunteers to children who are struggling with school, social issues, bullying, and homefront challenges from homelessness and financial hardship to abuse or even being in a single-parent home. This takes place in tandem with schools, counselors, parent organizations and community partners.

The fundraiser could help with the vision to expand the programs into all Walla Walla County school districts. The hope is to turn it into an annual event.

Banda Los Recoditos was on a list of several dream bands provided to Byrnes by Friends board members Ruben Hernandez and Roger Esparza before a trip to Puerto Vallarta. “See if any of them are planning to come up” to the U.S. was the mission.

The overall goal is to diversify all of the efforts of the Friends organization by better serving the vibrant Latino culture that makes Southeastern Washington — and Walla Walla — home.

“We were looking for different ways to incorporate the Latino community in what we do,” Byrnes said.

Amazingly, he was able to track down the band’s U.S. rep. When they learned about the special cause for Friends, they agreed to make the appearance at a special rate. They also turned it into a mini-tour with shows in Medford, Ore., and Yakima.

“Now it’s time to see just how great a community Walla Walla is,” he said.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at or 526-8321.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, or on Twitter at

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.

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