Are you ready for festival season? Chomping at the bit awaiting Telluride Bluegrass and ARISE? Can’t wait for UMS and Rockygrass? We feel you.
Our advice: Pack up the ol’ Subaru and head south. The 3rd Annual Music On The Mesa Festival is taking place in Taos, New Mexico June 2-4 — and you couldn’t ask for a better line up. If you enjoyed the bands at this year’s WinterWonderGrass in Steamboat Springs, you’ll be seriously jazzed about Music On The Mesa. You can expect a whole lot of Colorado artists and bluegrass all stars, plus a few super groups and tons of collaboration. The festival takes place at Taos Mesa Brewing Company, which boasts two outdoor stages (a larger amphitheater + a scenic AF smaller stage, overlooking the Sangre De Cristo Mountains) and one indoor stage, who’s acoustics are supposed to be the bomb. You think we’ve got some neat breweries in Denver? Taos Mesa Brewing was listed as one of “America’s Coolest Breweries” by Travel + Leisure in 2013.
Behold, the weekend music schedule:
Another feature that sets Music On The Mesa apart from other festivals is its premium on-site camping options, from primitive campgrounds adjacent to the brewery to glamping at the vintage trailer hotel, Hotel Luna Mystica, which will be celebrating its grand opening during the weekend of Music On The Mesa. You can be the first to spend the night in one of Hotel Luna Mystica’s luxurious Airstream trailers or adorable Traveleze campers.
Bridget Law and Dango Rose of Elephant Revival and Mackenzie Page of Gipsy Moon sat down with 303 Magazine to share their excitement for the upcoming festival, telling us why they’re so stoked to perform in The Land of Enchantment and why you ought to make the five-hour road trip to catch this magical event.
Gipsy Moon’s banjo goddess, Page, is especially excited to see the California Honeydrops play at Music On The Mesa. “They have become a favorite of mine lately because they just know how to make you dance. Dancing to music like that helps me to release whatever I’ve been holding onto and to experience the moment for what it is, accepting it fully.” She’s also thrilled to see Rising Appalachia and Elephant Revival. “It’s always so inspiring to see talented women take the stage.” But most importantly, she can’t wait for “New Mexico’s bounty of hot mineral waters to choose from.”
“I especially love traveling to these incredible locations to play music because they get me out of my comfort zone and lead to different inspirations and understandings. It also makes the journey more of an adventure, compared to just a weekend trip.” -Mackenzie Page, Gipsy Moon
Elephant Revival’s Law and Rose gushed about the healing energy of the land. “Taos is such a magical place with so much diverse cultural history,” explained Rose. “Honestly, Taos calls in the spirit, and it’s worth it to tune into its resonance, at least once per lifetime.” Law added “The vibe is so cool, very sacred. The scenery is gorgeous out at the Taos Brewing Company, too. It’s a very unique experience compared to the Colorado venues,” she said. “Even though it’s just a short drive away, the feel is really unique. The desert, the dry crisp air, the people, the willingness to drop in and listen to the great spirit is strong there.”
In regard to collaborations we can look forward to, Law mentioned how Elephant Revival always loves having Tim and Andy from Railroad Earth sit in with them on fiddle and saxophone. She claims that Lesh from the California Honeydrops, “Plays a mean trumpet solo,” and they love incorporating that, too. If Gipsy Moon and Rising Appalachia are around, it is very likely they will have the ladies sing with Elephant Revival during “Grace of a Woman.”
But what really makes a road trip worth the road trip are the stops on the way (or the way back, rather). While you’ll probably want to cruise I-25 southbound on your way to Taos, consider dillydallying your way back home. Ojo Caliente Hot Springs are just under an hour away from Taos and Law claims they’re one of her favorite spots in the whole country. Rose also suggests seeking out some of the primitive springs along the Rio Grande (pro tip: ask a local). If you hit up Ojo, you can cruise home via I-285 and stop for a soak in Valley View Hot Springs, Mount Princeton Hot Springs or Cottonwood Hot Springs (in Buena Vista). If you love thrifting (and breweries!), swing through Salida and score some vintage duds and throw back a cold one. Camp out at Great Sand Dunes National Park and scramble up to the top, if you’ve still got the energy. Or stop for a day hike in Staunton State Park in Conifer before returning to Denver. We don’t want to micromanage your road trip — there are just too many options! #summerproblems
If you’ve got more time, definitely make the hour and a half trip from Taos to Santa Fe and decompress at Meow Wolf (you know, that mysterious and interactive art sanctuary that all of your friends have been raving about). Hurray For The Riff Raff is playing at Meow Wolf on Tuesday, June 6 and tickets are available for only $16, if purchased in advance.
Okay, so let’s recap: Music On The Mesa, all your favorite bands, magical New Mexico desert energy, stunning mountain scenery, hot springs, camping (glamping?), a sweet road trip (factor in lots of snacks and playlists and scenic smoke breaks) and all the adventuring you can handle on your way home. Why wait? Kick off your summer right.
Ah, and it’s worth mentioning that when 303 inquired about any tricks Elephant Revival may have up their sleeves for Music on the Mesa, Rose curiously replied, “Depends on how far down the rabbit hole we choose to go. What time is it anyways?” So, yeah. We’ll see you down there.
Individual day passes are available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday ($45, $55 and $60, respectively). Weekend passes are available for $125, for all three days. Tickets are available for purchase here.