Totally Tradical

Santa Fe Traditional Music Festival adds more for its third year

What began in 1974 as the Santa Fe Banjo and Fiddle Contest has evolved over the years, perpetually rising like some kind of old-timey phoenix, to become the
nonprofit Santa Fe Traditional Music Festival at Camp Stoney. The event technically enters its third year this week, and according to organizers, is poised to be the most focused and entertaining version yet.

"The whole idea is that we think about it as a participatory event more than a
passive concert series," says Dave Dillman, a longtime organizer and volunteer for the festival. "People will be playing music on that campus 24 hours a day, essentially."

Said music will cut a wide swath, from bluegrass and Americana to ragtime, blues, zydeco, country, mariachi and more. Says Dillman, "If it's music made with an acoustic instrument, we try to have it."

The lineup boasts a who's-who of national traditional music enthusiasts—from the South Carolina Broadcasters, Cedric Watson and the Brownsville
Thomcats—but Dillman adds that it's important to shine a light on local talent as well. As such, you'll find performances from Mariachi Sonidos del Monte, Lara Manzanares, Lone Piñon and many others. That doesn't even include formal hosted jams, impromptu jams, a Contra dance, workshops, kids' activities, such as a beginner's ukulele lesson, and camping.

"We made a decision early on not to charge for camping, even if you pull up an RV—we don't have any connections for the RVs, but you can dry camp," Dillman says. "At a lot of festivals it's like getting on an airplane—they start charging you for everything, for camping or to take a shuttle, and we don't do that. And because it's green, camping is a lot more enticing than at the Rodeo Grounds."

Dillman also says the festival, formerly held at that location, has been known to draw attendees from nearby states like Texas and Colorado, and that some traditional music fans have been making the sojourn for all 45 years of the event. He chalks it up to the dedicated staff.

"Everybody is a volunteer," he says. "We've had excellent [financial] support from the city, and this year we have support from the state—and this year we got our own 501c3 status." Previously, the festival had operated under the nonprofit umbrella of Outside In, the same organization that produces the Santa Fe Bandstand series.

The three-day fest kicks off Friday evening at 7 pm with a mariachi performance, now a tradition itself, and one which Dillman says "sets the energy."
(Alex De Vore)

Santa Fe Traditional Music Festival:
7 pm Friday August 23; 10 am Saturday August 24 and Sunday August 25. $15-$50. Camp Stoney,
7855 Old Santa Fe Trail,
820-3166. Tickets here.

Straight Outta Spain

Morgan Smith

At El Flamenco Santa Fe, Antonio Granjero and his dance company bring Spain to you. "We have the only Spanish director on American soil," according to spokesperson Stephanie Ramirez. "We have award-winning artists—from Spain." Granjero's Entreflamenco was founded in 1998 in Madrid (not the small New Mexico town) and was well-received across Spain before he brought his talents to the US. He performed in and produced shows around the country, including in Texas, California and elsewhere in New Mexico before landing in Santa Fe for good in 2011. The show is complemented by authentic tapas, wine and beer, so arrive early—with extra cash. (Cole Rehbein)

El Flamenco Restaurant with Entreflamenco:
6:30 pm Wednesdays through Sundays. $25-$30.
El Flamenco,
135 W Palace Ave.,

Rooted in Dance

Courtesy La Emi

The story of La Emi of Emiarte Flamenco's involvement with dance begins before she was born. Her dad and uncle both performed at The Lodge at Santa Fe, where she saw her first show at the age of 4. "I am a product of our community, I grew up dancing on our stages," she tells SFR of her nearly two decades in flamenco. She originally studied under Maria Benitez, but started her own school at age 26, two years ago. Now she and her students bring flamenco to the same stage on which she started, five nights a week. "I've come full circle," she adds. (CR)

Emiarte Flamenco: 
8 pm Wednesdays through Sundays. $20-$50.
The Lodge at Santa Fe,
750 N St. Francis Drive,

Close to the Source


The tablao style of flamenco puts dancers on an elevated platform and originated in Spain in the 1960s to replace the more casual cafés cantantes. "We have the longest-running tablao show in North America—over 35 years," El Farol owner Frida Scott tells SFR. This history of dance compliments the establishment, which has been operating as a restaurant and bar since 1835, or around the same time the art of flamenco was being developed in Andalucia, Spain. Through a partnership with the National Institute of Flamenco, El Farol puts on a dinner show four nights a week, and reservations are required. (CR)

Flamenco Dinner Show: 
6:30-9 pm Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. $30.
El Farol,
808 Canyon Road, 983-9912.