Everybody and their mom hosts a music festival during the summer.
Only a few fests deserve the spotlight. Fewer still warrant a three-hour drive into the heart of Northern New Mexico. The first-ever Taos Mountain Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 15, is poised to make it worth your while. Genre-melding Ozomatli headlines a full day of music held on four acres of Taos Ski Valley. Bob Marley's backup band The Wailers and singer-songwriter Joan Osborne beef up the bill.
Alejandro Blake, events director for Taos Ski Valley, says the lineup reflects a desire for diversity. "What we were really trying to do is have an eclectic group of artists," Blake says. "Somebody who listens to Joan might not listen to Ozo, but I think they'll come up here and appreciate Ozo's music and vice versa. There's no music that's going to be too harsh for anybody."
Rico Blues Project, the Brent Berry Band and Albuquerque's Nosotros perform during the day.
There's plenty of fun for the kids and beer for the adults. Young bouncing-enthusiasts can utilize the jumpy castle, while 21-plus booze hounds can grab a wristband and start chugging responsibly.
Catch a ride on the chairlift, shop for crafts by Northern New Mexico artists or nosh at one of the restaurants in the Village of Taos Ski Valley. Then hurry back for Osborne's "One of Us" to remind yourself of the glorious mid-’90s.
Tickets are $35 in advance through taosmountainmusicfestival.com or $38 at the gate. Children 10-and-under are free. Music starts at 11:15 a.m., and Ozo goes on at 8 p.m.
A few weeks ago, the rootsy Americana outfit Grand Canyon played its first Duke City bar show in quite some time. Throughout the summer, Grand Canyon was content to use the house party as its primary performance venue.
Lead singer Sam Miller says house shows are the way to go. "It's more relaxed and sometimes just a better environment," Miller says. "You can create an atmosphere that's unique and suits your music better."
The band has another public gig at Launchpad on Friday, Aug. 14, with The Porter Draw, Rivet Gang and The Saltine Ramblers. Miller says the band will probably continue to gig sporadically. "Sometimes it's better to play a little bit irregularly," Miller says. "It gives it a little more novelty and more reason for people to come out."