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Largest tattoo festival in the country started by Jefferson HS graduate starts today

By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas Friday kicked off El Pasos annual Texas Showdown Festival -- the biggest tattoo festival in the country and it was all started by a Jefferson High School graduate.

About 27,000 tickets were sold last year and more than 30,000 are expected this year.

The event was filled with tattoo booths and the constant buzzing sound of people getting inked.

Festival organizers said once the sun goes down, things start to heat up.

If laid-back lizards and gigantic snakes arent exactly your thing, the festival has more than enough to throw your way with creative tattoos done by some of the best artists in the country, models, artwork and food.

None of it would be possible without Jefferson High School graduate George Galindo, the president and promoter of the event.

He started it in El Paso five years ago and now its spread all across the country.

Galindo has some big names coming to perform in El Paso this weekend.

(Ill) give you an example of some of the bands we've got this year: Deftones is playing tonight. Friday night 10 oclock they take the stage. Tomorrow is Drowning Pool, Crazy Town, Twelve Stones. Sunday is some of the guys from Wu Tang," Galindo said.

"We have about 12 to 15 stops throughout the country, we cover up and down the East Coast, we've got a few in Florida, but technically it's the largest tattoo/music festival in the country."

" you're in for a great weekend. There are some things you will never see again, said host Carl Blasphemy. We have artists from all over the world, as far as Japan come here to tattoo for the weekend. We have great bands like Deftones, Drowning Pool, Bash and Wu Tang on Sunday! It's a great show.

Everywhere you looked, someone was getting inked.

Attendee Laila Rajabi was getting a colossal squid because she said she loves tattoo artist Luis Houses work and she has a love for the ocean.

I've got my anxiety stone right here, so I'm just trying to distract myself from the pain! she said.

Tickets for the festival are $30 a day and $75 for a three-day pass. The event runs from noon until 11 p.m. with concerns highlighting the evenings at the County Coliseum.