Set aside your relationship with cheap tequila. I know what you’re thinking or, better, remembering — the cheap stuff you consumed at that party when you were young and didn’t know any better. This isn’t a frat party, however; this weekend’s Tequila & Taco Music Festival at The Collection in Oxnard is a celebration of all things agave.

All great tequilas are made from 100 percent blue agave – the succulent plant grown in Mexico that resembles a very large aloe. When mature, the leaves are cut away using a special tool called a coa to reveal the piña, the heart of the plant.

The piña is then baked to release the fructose needed for fermentation, mashed and distilled, the result of which is either placed into steel tanks to age for a few days or, in the case of reposado, up to one year, typically in white-oak barrels from France or the States, or añejos for longer than one year but no more than three. Anything rested longer than three years is called an extra añejos.



Sky Sunner of Sam’s Saticoy Liquor and sponsor of the festival will be serving Bloody Marias made with his Bloody Cure mix. Sunner says that one of the goals of the festival revolves around education.

“We want to educate people so that they understand what tequila is,” said Sunner, who is excited to have at the festival producer Alquimia, whose owner resides in Oxnard. “Tequila has been given a bad reputation; we’re hoping to reverse that.”

The two-day festival takes place this Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19, at The Collection at Riverpark, 2751 Park View Court, Oxnard. Headliner heavy metal/mariachi act Metalachi will perform on Saturday. Tickets range from $10 to $40. For more information, visit 

Chris O’Neal is wasting away here in margaritaville. Follow him on Instagram @agentoneal.