Music on the Mesa
The last day of Music on the Mesa 2017 was bright and sunny as I walked over to the Patio Stage to hear local Norteno singer/songwriter Chris Arellano. I’m embarrassed to say, though I follow Nuevo Mexico ranchera music, I hadn’t heard Chris’ work before. He and his brother Rodney, along with local pedal steel player Scott Harris, treated us with more music than his one-hour set because Western Centuries broke down and couldn’t make their time slot.
The second day of Music on the Mesa 2017 started early. Though there was a huge crowd on the first night of the fest, music lovers were taking their time moseying down to the festival grounds in search of that day’s entertainment. I moseyed down myself from the vintage Aristocrat trailer I stayed in the night before. It was nicknamed Dennis and had an Easy Rider/Dennis Hopper theme in its decorations. It was super convenient to be able to just walk across a dirt road to where everything was happening.
Music on the Mesa Festival launched its third year on a hot day in El Prado NM, just north of Taos, at the Taos Mesa Brewery. Under clouds that gifted rain later in the day at a very opportune time, music lovers came early, swelling crowds to capacity every single night of the fest.
On this opening Friday, June 2, festivalgoers were treated to NM singer/songwriter Ry Taylor on the large earthen amphitheater and the California-based Sweetwater String Band on the patio stage.
In two weeks, the high desert mesa near Taos will once again rock the mountains looking down at it. Music on the Mesa Festival is known for the high quality of the artists it books and this year is certainly no exception. Headlining the 2017 Music on the Mesa festival are Railroad Earth and Robert Randolph and the Family Band!
The last day of the second annual Music on the Mesa festival started out with blue skies and fluffy clouds, but the weather bureau promised rain. Here in New Mexico, we dance about that, especially in monsoon season, because it is arid here. With that in mind, I came prepared with my raingear to protect my camera.
I was very eager to return to Music on the Mesa in Taos, June 3-5. The venue itself is stunning, with vitas of the mountains right past what I call the cornucopia main stage. The weather usually is cooler up at 8,000 feet in Taos than in other parts of the state and the night sky, even with concert lighting, is breathtaking.
As I cover regional music festivals, I always like to show Grateful Web readers how festivals work and who puts them together. Though we’d all like to believe that magic festival elves appear in the night and toss fairy dust over a field and the next morning a festival pops up like mushrooms after a rain, it doesn’t work like that. There’s a lot of planning put into the creation and execution of a major music festival.
The last day of the Music on the Mesa festival started a tad later than the previous days because of Saturday’s late night set. Festivalgoers were up in the early afternoon, getting food and beers, and making their way down to the main stage to see the Slow Motion Cowboys. You wouldn’t know that this band is based in San Francisco by the original songs they write with a laid-back country sound. Their music is heartfelt, well played, and deeply honest.
It was a great Taos morning, the skies the color of blue you’ll see nowhere else. Festivalgoers were up and eager for the day’s events.
I missed the first two bands on the roster: Greg B and the Gunsels and Sean Healen. I was especially bummed to miss Sean. I understand that the Santa Fe Brewing Company honored him recently with a permanent addition to their fine line of brews, called “Healen’s Big Hat Nut Brown Ale.” He’s famous, not only for his music but for his hats.