Ahh. It’s summertime in the Southwest. Beer in hand – maybe in both – you’re sidestepping your way through a crowd of people at a festival so that you and your friends can stand together and enjoy the band that’s playing under the sun. As you nod your head to the music, you can smell donuts frying at a nearby food stand and the freshly squeezed lemonade one of your companions is holding.
The grass underfoot is soft and relaxing as you all stand together. The sun is out and you’ll probably end up with a sunburn.
Just across the way, you spot two young women doing an interpretive dance to the vibrant beat in a circle with an old guy they clearly just met, drawn together by the power of music and maybe a few substances.
This experience, friends, could all be yours, should you decide to venture out during these summer months. Summertime is breaking loose and so should you. It’s time to take advantage of the beer, music, and mushroom opportunities the region has to offer.
May 24-26RiverfestBerg and Animas Parks, Farmington, N.M.; freeTake a walk on the wild-ish side and enjoy Farmington’s beautiful views of the Animas River while taking a hike on the water’s trails during Riverfest. As you walk, you’ll get to enjoy everything from live music to beer and wine gardens (always a must). Aside from that, there’s also wiener dog races, a gourd dance, a Riverfest 10K/5K run/walk, river raft and tractor rides, and all kinds of vendors. We don’t know what a gourd dance is, but we hope it involves doing the funky chicken with a gourd as tall as you are.
June 1Dolores River FestivalJoe Rowell Park, Dolores, Colo.; $20Dolores might be small but its beer is mighty and the town puts on one helluva festival. Pour yourself a tall one and relax by the river as you enjoy performances from the main stage acts Afrobeatniks, Elder Grown, Garrett T. Capps, and Diggin Dirt.
June 7-9Pagosa Folk ‘N BluegrassReservoir Hill, Pagosa Springs, Colo.; $41+The residents of Pagosa Springs sure do love their folk and bluegrass music. In fact, they love it so much that it’s the 14th year they’ve put on the Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass fest. This year, audiences will have the pleasure of seeing the Del McCoury Band, The Travelin’ McCourys (the sons of Del McCoury), Sierra Hull, Sam Reider and the Human Hands, and more. This, friends, is a killer lineup and sounds like it’ll be a crooning good time.
June 19-22Rodeo De Santa Fe3237 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, N.M.; $10-$37No Southwest community is complete without a rodeo. Prepare thyself for four days of bullfighters, mutton bustin’, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and more at Santa Fe’s big cowboy event.
June 20-23Telluride Bluegrass FestivalTelluride, Colo.; $90+Just when you are really starting to miss the Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass festival, you can road trip on up to Telluride for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to catch acts like Kacey Musgraves, Greensky Bluegrass, Brandi Carlisle, Punch Brothers, and, well, the list goes on and on, folks. This is a bluegrass lover’s dream come true. If you have any sense of good music or just wanna roll a joint, sip a beer, and listen to some bluegrass tunes, you should probably get yourself on over to this festival this summer.
June 22The Macaroni & Cheese FestivalBerg Park, Farmington, N.M.; $20-$30There’s no such thing as too much mac and cheese, and the organizers of the most delicious festival in the universe agree. Local chefs will put their personal spins on, and we can’t emphasize this enough, the greatest comfort food man has put forth. It’s a culinary genius undertaking that far exceeds the most high brow and complex dishes of our time. Sorry, beef Bourguignon. You’ll simply never live up to the simple pleasure of noodles drenched in butter and cheese.
July 1Bands, Brews, & BBQPurgatory Resort, Durango, Colo.; $17-$27There’s really no such thing as too much music and beer, is there? NAH. This summer, Purg is turning its once wintry slopes into a summer paradise of food, booze, and tunes. Swing by the resort this July and catch acts such as Pants Party, Kat $nip and The Funk Lab, Space Wail, and The Missing Lynx.
July 5-7Pork and BrewSanta Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho, N.M.; $4-$6Barbecue, beers, and music, oh my! Rio Rancho’s Pork and Brew fest, which was featured in The Cooking Channel’s “Carnival Eats,” is here again for the 16th year in a row. Git your bibs on, folks, because some of the region’s best barbecue is about to be on your plate.
July 6Summer BrewPurgatory Resort, Durango, Colo.; $18 ADV/$25 DOSYou might wanna snag your place in line early on this one, cuz space is limited and there are only 300 tickets available. Consider this your warning. But then again, why would you NOT get tickets to this event? It’s basically a beer lover’s dream come true. Sitting outside on the lawn, sipping (UNLIMITED) samples of beers whilst listening to live music. What’s not to love about that?
July 6-7Cortez Art and Wine FestivalCortez City Park, Cortez, Colo.Summer isn’t just for beer, ya know. Wine sippin’ is just as much of a summer activity. The good folks of Cortez know this and that’s why they’ve brought you the Cortez Art and Wine Festival. Check out the work of more than 40 artists and craftsmen while enjoying wine from regional wineries.
July 20Route 66 SummerfestHistoric Nob Hill, Albuquerque, N.M.What’s more Southwest Americana than Route 66? The answer: Nothing. Join our neighbors down south in celebrating the old highway with an Old Route 66 car show, Mother Road art market, food trucks, music, and nationally renowned headliner Magic Giant, an LA-based indie-folk group that recently performed at Coachella.
July 20-28Durango Fiesta DaysDowntown Durango and the La Plata County Fairgrounds; $12 for adults, $6 for childrenEveryone loves a fiesta, and Durango is no different. We’ve got our own raucous party with Fiesta Days, a celebration of history and heritage from the Durango area. This fiesta has been rockin’ and rollin’ since 1935, and these days, the party stretches across an entire week. Get yourself ready for some parades, rodeos, and chuck-wagon cook-offs, along with street dancing and a pie auction. Is it possible to take home all the pies? Just asking for a friend.
Aug. 3Pine River FestivalEagle Park, Bayfield, Colo.; $20-$40 13+, free for 12 and underThe Pine River Festival’s logo is a giant pint glass spilling over with beer with the Colorado logo and musical notes spouting out from it, and it could not be more on the nose. Beer is abound at this event and so is the music. The Steel Wheels, The Accidentals, Stillhouse Junkies, High Country Hustle, and Midnight Backhand are among the day’s musical performances. It’s the second annual Pine River Fest and this year the proceeds will go to the Be FRANK Foundation to support youngsters in their creative endeavors.
Aug. 9-11Telluride Jazz FestivalTelluride, Colo.; $25+Since 1977, Telluride has been putting on one helluva jazz party. Earning national and international applause for its top of the line classic, mainstream, blues, African, Cajun, and Latin jazz music lineup, the festival honors the country’s long history of jazz that is rooted in blues and ragtime. This year’s musical lineup includes Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Lettuce, Robert Randolf & the Family Band, Victor Wooten Band, Turkuaz, Cha Wa, Spaga, Veronica Swift, Matthew Whitaker, and oh so much more.
Aug. 14-18Telluride Mushroom FestivalTelluride, Colo.; $50+This festival is putting the fun back into fungal. OK, that was a terrible dad joke, but for real, if you’re a fan of the ‘shrooms, consider checking out this festival dedicated to “all things mycological.” Attendees of this nearly 40-year-old event will learn about the new advancements in science when it comes to mushrooms and even take part in a good ol’ fashioned mushroom cook-off.
Aug. 16-18Meow Wolf Taos VortexKit Carson Park, Taos, N.M.; $80+In what we’re dubbing New Mexico’s version of Coachella, Meow Wolf is stretching its reach from Santa Fe to the artsy community of Taos. Eager beavers can check out acts by Lykke Li, Claude VonStroke, Goldlink, Flying Lotus 3D, Barclay Crenshaw, Cocorosie, Zhu, and Iron & Wine. While you’re there, go glamping or give camping a whirl. Swing by the Pussy Power House, the Vibe Hut, or one of the many art and food vendors that will also be in attendance. The eerie part, though? The festival’s Spire Stage is right next to a cemetery.
Aug. 24San Juan BrewfestBuckley Park, Durango, Colo.; $20-$80Why not start to wrap up the summer with a festival celebrating Durango’s love of beer? Attendees will get tasting glasses and unlimited samples from the 50 breweries and distilleries there to quench your thirst. To accompany this boozy fest will be performances from Ron Artis II & The Truth and Spidercat. As we like to say here in the Southwest, cheers!
Aug. 30Burning of ZozobraFort Marcy Park, Santa Fe, N.M.; $10; children 10 and under free“What on earth is a Zozobra?” You might be asking that right now, in addition to “why is it burning?” Glad you asked! Zozobra – aka Old Man Gloom – is one of New Mexico’s oldest icons, He was created in 1924 by the artist Will Shuster. Today he is a 50-foot figure made of wood, stuffed with papers carrying people’s notes of gloom and doom, and then set on fire by the Sana Fe Kiwanis Club. Make sense?
Aug. 30 - Sept. 2Telluride Film FestivalTelluride, Colo.This mountain festival draws some of the biggest names in the film industry, like Matthew McConaughy and Emma Stone. The movie lineup is always a secret, but there’s a good chance that if you’re attending this festival, you’re probably getting an early peek at some big award nominees. It’s expensive, mind you, but if you’re even a smidgen of a film buff, don’t waste this (most likely) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hang with the stars.
Aug. 30 - Sept. 1Four Corners Folk FestivalReservoir Hill, Pagosa Springs, Colo.; $51+Don’t miss out on one of the last regional music festivals of the summer over in Pagosa, Durango’s friendly neighbor. This small mountain town is allllll about music and will play host to folk musicians such as Earls of Leicester, Billy Strings, Darrell Scott, Amy Helm, The Mammals, and Lindsay Lou.