Not long ago, Rosarito's big draw was hip-hop. Rappers and DJs drew weekend crowds to bars such as Iggy's and Papas and Beer.
"Those places were importing these rappers from San Diego," says Adrianne Rapp, who owns a day spa in Rosarito. "Hip-hop brought a really, really bad element into town.... It would attract teenagers from the United States who would come down here and do disgusting things. People would buy drugs in the streets. I got tired of seeing half-naked young girls drunk out of their minds in front of my spa. It would be nothing to see trash everywhere on a Sunday morning....
"The government is nonexistent in Rosarito. We don't have a whole lot of leadership down here." So, Rapp says citizens and businesspeople convinced the bar owners to stop hiring rappers. "The anger and displeasure they got from us forced them to stop.... There has been nothing going on at Iggy's for eight months. I think they pretty much burned themselves up in this town."
Rapp admits that Rosarito is in need of steady economic stimulus.
"I've been down here for three years, and every single year my books are down, down, down.... When a movie is being filmed [at the nearby Fox studio], the whole town is revitalized for those eight or ten months. But they haven't used it since the Russell Crowe movie [2003's Master and Commander]. Ensenada has tourists and cruise ships; we have nothing. The whole town is sad. Taxi drivers sit waiting in lines every weekend."
So, Rapp intends to create a cultural center/live-music venue that can host American and Mexican bands.
"We're looking to get an old bar that used to be called the Maya. It's closed now." To "test the waters," Rapp produced her first concert featuring norteño bands at El Foro (formerly the Jai Alai Palace) in Tijuana on January 20. Rapp wants to hear from bands who want to play in Rosarito (email@example.com).