News: El Paso hosts world’s largest tattoo and music festival
Story by Sgt. Edward Garibay
EL PASO, Texas – The world’s largest tattoo and music festival kicked off Friday for three days of ink, entertainment and eccentrics at the El Paso County Coliseum, downtown.
The fourth annual Texas Showdown Festival brought more than 100 of the most talented tattoo artists from around the country to the Sun City and allowed patrons to get tatted up while listening to headlining bands such as Adam Gontier (formerly of Three Days Grace), Exodus, Sid Wilson from Slipknot, The Bronx, Glassjaw, Less Than Jake, and New Found Glory.
The festival also featured daily best-tattoo contests, magic shows, freak shows and human suspension shows where attendees could swing from the ceiling using metal hooks pierced through their own skin.
While event-goers weren’t engaging in such spectacles, they could find a variety of unique merchandise on sale such as art, t-shirts and jewelry, as well as an abundance of flavorful food from local borderland vendors.
“My favorite part is meeting all the different types of people,” said Sgt. Heather Holter, a human resource specialist with 5th Armored Brigade, 1st Army, Division West. “Everyone has a different story. All you have to do is just ask them about their tattoos and they’ll tell you what each one means to them.”
With all these activities, this year’s Texas Showdown Festival proved to be the largest one yet, said George Galindo, the event organizer and a tattoo artist from House of Pain Studios here.
He added that one of the leading contributors to its success was the participation from local military.
“You can’t have El Paso without Fort Bliss,” he said. “The Soldiers play a big part in what makes this festival great. You can feel it.”
Galindo and House of Pain Studios were so grateful to Soldiers for all they do that they decided to donate part of the proceeds from the festival to the Wounded Warrior Project and to Limbs International, which both help injured war veterans.
“Soldiers give so much to us, we wanted to give something back to them,” said Galindo.
House of Pain Studios also partnered with a variety of other charitable organizations for the event. The Make a Wish Foundation brought a group of children with life-threatening illnesses to meet some of the celebrities on site and witness some of the festivities.
All in all, the Texas Showdown Festival was truly a site to be seen. Those who missed it need not worry though, the event is slated to return around the same time next year and the plan is to make it even bigger.
For more information, visit www.texastattooshowdownfestival.com.