Upon hearing "festival," some people are reminded of the Medieval Latin word festivalis, referring to a feast.
This summer, the feast takes place in your ear canals, with enough different courses spread out from Albuquerque to Taos to satisfy even the most discriminating Roman Senator (I'm looking at you, Cato the Younger).
Starting close to home, details have already emerged and quickly spread regarding the lineup for this year's Santa Fe Bandstand. Now in its 11th season, the series offers an unprecedented nine weeks (and 89 acts) of free music from June 21 through Aug. 23. With almost every genre represented, the highlights of the season depend on listener preference, but SFR readers will likely appreciate DJ PA Trix (a local Afro-Cuban musicologist sure to bring out the town's best salsa dancers) and rising star Max Gomez (a young singer-songwriter out of Taos). Incidentally, Gomez' opening act is the next generation of rock stars—participants from the Candyman's Summer Rock Camp.
Speaking of the bandstand, one more highlight is ¡Globalquerque!'s presentation of Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante from Recife, Brazil, who share the stage with Brooklyn-based Nation Beat on Aug. 12. The world music festival from, yep, Albuquerque, has their annual showcase scheduled for Sept. 20-21 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. However, this year, they are further expanding their offerings to us northern neighbors. In addition to the bandstand event, the organization presents a July 10 event during the International Folk Art Market. The Lensic show features Mali folk and blues band Mamadou Kelly and the Ali Farka Toure Allstars.
Anyone besides me still like jazz fusion? Fellow diehards won't want to miss the Yellowjackets on July 19 at Hiland Theater as part of the New Mexico Jazz Festival. Formed in the early years of the Reagan presidency, these guys have been sharing their smooth and soulful melodies in the decades since. The rest of the two-week jazz festival is split between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. This year's in-town highlights include sets by trumpeter Terence Blanchard and Latin pianist Eddie Palmieri, performing on July 26 and 27 respectively.
On the topic of jazz, Chick Corea holds a residency in Angel Fire during the 30th anniversary season of Music from Angel Fire, to be held Aug. 16-Sept. 1. Though primarily chamber music-based, the series also sponsors genre crossover musicians like Corea. The avant-garde pianist and composer has played with everyone from Miles Davis to Béla Fleck, and was friends with L Ron Hubbard (he contributed to Hubbard's 1982 album Space Jazz: The Soundtrack of the Book Battlefield Earth).
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival brings back internationally renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson as this year's artist-in-residence, in addition to a slew of other well-known piano, string and woodwind players. It is impossible to adequately summarize in this brief article the July 14-Aug. 19 series (which fills an official seven-page press release and 14-page calendar of events), so visit sfcmf.org for specifics.
Then there's Mumford & Sons. In a few short years, the (British) Americana-pop band has taken the world by storm, winning this year's Grammy for Album of the Year. Following openers Mystery Jets and Michael Kiwanuka, Mumford performs June 6 in Kit Carson Park under the auspices of the Taos Solar Music Festival. For those wondering if a one-night, three-act show constitutes a festival, indeed it does not; TSMF is technically on hiatus until next year, with the exception of this one major show.
Another well-loved local music fest is taking a breather: Thirsty Ear Festival will hopefully return in 2014. And in the category of festivals that have already come and gone, May brought us Edgefest (an alt-rock showcase that was once a big deal...just like alt-rock) and the first Las Cruces Country Music Festival.
So, let's raise a chalice to these festivals past and present as we feast our way through the summer's bounty...before proceeding to the vomitorium.
Want more from the above acts? Enjoy the playlist below: