Kannaroo 3: Killith Fair

Music For Music's Sake

Simon McCormack
4 min read
Kannaroo 3: Killith Fair
A mosh pit erupts during the first Kannaroo music festival two years ago. (Jessie Martin)
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Usually, drunken ideas only sound brilliant while you’re sloshed.

Max Moulton and three of his friends from Dixon beat the odds and came up with a solid idea for a music festival while blitzed. "Alcohol was kind of the catalyst," Moulton recalls. "Booze cures all."

That was three years ago. Since then, there have been two installments of their Kannaroo music festival in Sunshine Valley, situated just north of Questa. The third Kannaroo features 12 bands from New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, a guitar shred-off competition and an improperly sized volleyball game.

The festival’s trump card is it’s completely free. The bands aren’t getting paid and any profits from selling food, water and soda get donated to the Dixon Animal Protection Society. "We’re trying to weed out the money side of music and bring the passion back," Moulton says. "We try to focus on bands who are interested in coming down and having a good time versus coming down and being paid."

Most of the dozen groups making the trip are young and into punk, metal or both. Moulton and the other organizers know how hard it can be for a punk band to book a gig in Northern New Mexico. "We used to play in a punk band in Taos," Moulton says. "We found it was hard to find places to play, much less find a crowd that’s actually interested in listening to what we were doing."

All the groups get Moulton’s stamp of approval since he helped book them, but there are a few he’s especially excited about. Despite its less than appealing moniker, Moulton says Sonic Vomit from Pueblo, Colo., is a must-hear. Ultra-distorted guitars and little girl shrieks are the most prominent ingredients in this puke-based concoction. The lyrics that can be deciphered have a humorous bent: For example, "Fat kids are harder to kidnap," explains “Turn Up the Meat."

It’s nearly a three-hour drive to Sunshine Valley from Albuquerque. Moulton encourages concertgoers to pitch a tent and camp after the all-day concert ends around midnight. The days are hot and the nights can get chilly, so Moulton recommends folks dress accordingly. There’s no running water, although bottles will be sold, and no electricity. When nature calls, Kannaroo attendees will have to make do with one of the outhouses. "It’s not a festival for people with weak stomachs," Moulton admits. "You have to really appreciate music to enjoy what we’re doing."

Kannaroo revolves around dedication. The bands are there for the experience, not the paycheck, and Moulton and his fellow organizers have no interest in making a profit. The only thing those making the journey ask in return for their efforts is a good time. "We do it because we love the music and the idea of doing something like this," Moulton explains. "Even with all the stress, we have a great time setting it up. We really just like to do something different."

The Bands At Kannaroo

The Art of Flying (Taos) • folk

Mephitic (Taos) • death metal, hardcore, metal

Spork Trio (Questa) • experimental, progressive, fusion

Sonic Vomit (Pueblo, Colo.) • grindcore, punk

Babelshack (Tres Piedras) • rock, indie, alternative

Obelisk (Los Alamos) • metal

Sweet Miscreants (Taos) • metal, punk, indie

Burn Heavy (Denver, Colo.) • metal

Two Ton Strap (Dixon) • death metal, country, punk

The Bang! Gang! (Taos) • Southern rock, garage

Bomb Black (Taos) • breakcore, death metal, progressive

Confident Loser (Red River) • rock, pop punk, ska
Kannaroo 3: Killith Fair

Kan Namba, one of the Kannaroo organizers, stands in front of the 10-foot-tall replica of himself burned during last year’s Kannaroo festival, themed "Burning Kan."

Max Moulton

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