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Profile: Reno Musician Making Local, Global Impact

Drinking With Clowns

Baldo Bobadilla is more than a local musician; he’s an emerging leader in the Reno arts community. Along with organizing last fall’s Off Beat Music Festival, which drew thousands of concert-goers downtown, Bobadilla runs a nonprofit that provides art education to local kids.

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick sat down with Bobadilla to hear his story.

As lead singer and guitarist of Drinking With Clowns, BaldoBobadilla brings a funky Latin sound to the Reno music scene. And when it comes to music, he says anything goes.

“The idea is getting together and having a good time. We play very diverse music," he says. "You will hear hip hop; you will hear reggae; you will hear Latin music, salsa.”

Much of Bobadilla's musical influence comes from his upbringing in South America.

“I grew up in a remote town in Paraguay. We did not have TV. The music we did have there was just the local bohemians. My very beginning was very roots music,” Bobadilla says. “When I moved to the city, I got FM radio and that was very fancy for me. I was always more drawn to the singer-songwriter guys. And then music from Argentina, that’s when I started getting into the more fun music.”

Credit Noah Glick
Bobadilla in the KUNR studio

His music also comes with a positive message.

“For us, anything goes except hate. We play music that is bilingual, kind of multicultural and is talking about some of the bigger issues,” Bobadilla adds. “At any time during a Drinking With Clowns concert, you will see the Mexican, you will see the black guy, you will see the redneck. Everybody just comes together and has a good time.”

Along with playing gigs around town, Bobadilla runs Future Kind, a nonprofit organization working to improve health and education in South America.

“Future Kind, for me, was a way I wanted to give back to the community I was from,” Bobadilla says. “We sent water filters to communities in Paraguay who don’t have potable water. We donated iPads to schools who did not have a library.”

Credit Future Kind
Future Kind's hip hop dancing class at Innovations High School

Future Kind has arts education programming in Reno as well as the organization's work abroad.

“We’ve done summer camps where kids can learn about permaculture, percussion, a little bit of music, and yoga with the aerial silks,” he says. “People have to apply for it, and we chose people who otherwise would not have been exposed to these sorts of things. The idea there is to show kids that there are other things out in the world.”

Another major project for Bobadilla was organizing last fall’s inaugural Off Beat Music Festival, which brought about eighty bands to Reno.

“We wanted to put money in local music,” Bobadilla says. “And it was very well received for a first year event. We did not lose money, so that’s kind of a big deal. Over the weekend, I think we had over 2,300 people go through all the bars.”

Bobadilla has already begun planning for this year’s festival, and he says Reno’s growing arts scene is well-suited to host more of these types of events.

Listen to the extended interview.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
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