Summer Guide: Southwest Summer Fests

An Alibi Guide To Enchanted N.m. Travel

August March
5 min read
Southwest Summer Fests
Albuquerque Wine Festival ( Via Albuquerque Wine Festival )
Share ::
Festivals. Summertime. New Mexico: With terms like that in your search criteria, one need only manifest the appropriate action verbs to turn the potential for summer excursions into actual wondrous expeditions from one enchanting fiesta to another.

Whether you fancy eating, listening, looking or simply kicking back beneath unparalleled New Mexico skies, the variety of summery sensory diversions in these parts may be more than enough to persuade you against packing up your station wagon for an overrated vacation to Califas or Kansas City. Keep your mileage low and your expectations high by cruising ’round our state to check out awesome, upcoming summer fests.

Did I mention all these events take place within comfortable driving distance from Burque? Wagons ho!

Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, for instance, you could motor up to the rather cool northern mountains to take part in the annual Outdoor Expo & Fishing Derby in Red River, N.M. They’ll be angling all weekend. There’s a wild game cook-off and geocaching seminar, too; local merchants will offer outdoorsy wares and services.

Access to water is always cause to celebrate, and the folks in
Red River, N.M. aren’t the only ones in the know about that. From Friday, May 23, to Sunday, May 25, check out Riverfest in Farmington, N.M. If you fancy driving south—and can handle the 4-hour trip out—the 19th annual Silver City Blues Festival happens the same weekend, and sonic highlights include self-described "love child of Howlin’ Wolf and Link Wray" Alvin Youngblood Hart and Austinite funk/soul outfit Mingo Fishtrap.

Balloon Fiesta Park, the 27th annual Albuquerque Wine Festival celebrates the grape from Saturday, May 24, to Monday, May 26. This intoxicating fest features vino from 24 wineries, arts and crafts merchants, culinary vendors with international appeal and aural ambience courtesy of several acts, including Latin fave Nosotros, Mexican alt.folk trio Los Primos and up-and-coming northern N.M. country modernist James Carothers.

Out on the eastern plains,
Fort Sumner, N.M. plays host to the 39th annual Old Fort Days Celebration from Wednesday, June 11, to Sunday, June 15. From goat-roping and hog-calling contests to an ice cream social and a rodeo, Old Fort Days showcases traditional cowpoke culture at its rowdy best. Don’t miss the “world-famous Billy the Kid Tombstone Race.”

The 36th annual
Arts & Crafts Festival in Santa Fe falls smack in the midst of June, just before summer’s official rollout in the Land of Enchantment. This year’s fest coincides with Father’s Day and takes place at Santa Fe Plaza. As summer creeps ever closer, The Vans Warped Tour careens into Isleta Amphitheater on Tuesday, June 17. This youth-oriented mega-concert features indie bands like Ghost Town, I Fight Dragons and Ice Nine Kills—apparently kids are still reading Vonnegut, and that’s cool—and a Reverse Daycare Tent for parents escorting their screaming, rocked-out kids.

The latest summer fest from tiny New Mexico town
Cloudcroft is the July Jamboree, which features local art, music and food in a rustic setting far from the beaten path. In the mountains south of Burque—where the clouds are close and the weather is almost always kind—Cloudcroft’s larger tourist season kickoff, juried art show Mayfair, takes place Memorial Weekend.

In concert with living museum
El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Consulado de México en Albuquerque presents ¡Viva Mexico! Celebration on Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20. Located just south of Santa Fe—near the beautifully rolling hills of La Cienega and the ghost of the Downs at Santa Fe—El Rancho will be the site of música, arte y más rarely experienced outside Mexico and graciously available due to our state’s complex bond with the southern lands.

The 12th annual
Wildlife Music Fest attracts bluegrass, country and Irish music acts to an Edgewood, N.M. zoo noted for its attention to native species and preservation of their habitats. Explore flora and fauna of our state while taking in hot jazz/Western swing trio The Hot Club of Cowtown, bluegrass by Henhouse Prowlers and rootsy Americana à la Gregg Daigle Band from Friday, July 25, to Sunday, July 27, at Wildlife West Nature Park.

In August, keep drinking in summertime with
Las Cruces Tour de Beer on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16 and 17, at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Live music, cold cervezas, shady tents equipped with misters and the omnipresent New Mexican sun. The Mountainair Sunflower Festival happens on Saturday, Aug. 23. This renowned event is well-known throughout the state, so book a room at the legendary Shaffer Hotel while you can.

Summer ultimately segues into fall, and the pitch-perfect transition for this glorious, natural ebb is
¡Globalquerque!, a New Mexican exposition of diverse world music and culture. Down by the river on Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20, this worldly concert at the National Hispanic Cultural Center serves as the perfect finale for the noble summer festival partaker to consider their place in space. Stay hydrated, always rock sunscreen, and hit the open road.
Southwest Summer Fests

CC BY Madeleine Holland

Southwest Summer Fests

CC BY Derek Markham

1 2 3 214