Outside music travels like a beautiful ribbon through the Taos air every summer. For the first time, Taos welcomes mega star Sting who will play at Kit Carson Park on Sept. 2. Whether your jam is rock, Americana, opera or something else, you’ll hear it here.
Taos Plaza Live
Historic Taos Plaza
Every Thursday 6-8 p.m., May 30-Aug. 22
The town of Taos and local sponsors bring this free, weekly, family fun night of live music to the heart of Taos. This community gathering every Thursday night has become a summer tradition. Many of the bands are local. For a complete lineup, visit taos.org. There will be no event on July 4 and July 18.
Monolith on the Mesa
Monolith on the Mesa is a new music experience intertwined with an art event. The festival features an indoor stage and an outdoor “earthship” amphitheater located at Taos Mesa Brewing, 20 ABC Mesa Road, El Prado. Live performances from rock, stoner and metal groups with Om, Dead Meadow and Wovenhand to name a few. Music begins daily at 11:30 a.m. and will alternate between the indoor and outdoor stages. Vendors include local artisans, record labels, food trucks and more. Art lovers will enjoy the interactive art installations by Christian Ristrow and Christina Sporrong of Robochrist industries. JP Rodman, an innovator in the bike-builder world, will be showing off his custom bike builds. Once the sun sets, the Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show will illuminate the open air amphitheater with an astounding 21st-century light show. For ticket and band lineup information, visit monolithonthemesa.com.
Taos Opera Institute
Month of June
Since 2007, every summer TOI has brought to Taos 28 promising young artists (TOI Singers), from across the country and internationally, who are invited to spend a month learning from esteemed faculty. Performances — many are free — by Cantos de Taos and the TOI Singers are held in various Taos venues and Taos Ski Valley. Cantos de Taos is comprised of singers that are already in the professional circuit and are often TOI alumni. For a complete schedule, see the June listings in the Calendar section of this publication or visit taosoi.org.
Cool Summer Nights Concert Series in Angel Fire
June through August
Opener June 14 with local favorite Ry Taylor Band. Angel Fire Resort will officially celebrate the start of summer with free, Friday night music at Frontier Park. Hear folk, blues, bluegrass and rock performers. Pack a picnic or enjoy food, wine and beer from the local food vendors and a Kid Zone. This is a free, family-friendly event. Visit angelfirecoolsummer.com for an updated schedule.
June and August
Celebrate Seco as global sounds echo off the mountains in the heart of the unique village of Arroyo Seco during a series of free (donations appreciated) outdoor concerts. Performances held at Scott Carlson Pottery. For an updated schedule, visit secolive.org.
Music on Top concert series
June 15-Aug. 31
The shows take place on Saturdays, noon to 2 p.m., at The Tip restaurant at the top of the Platinum Chair Lift at Red River Ski and Summer Resort. The half-hour chair ride takes you to the stage set at 10,350 feet with a backdrop of Mount Baldy (12,441 ft.). Visit redriver.org for schedule.
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
Taos Mesa Brewing Amphitheater
20 ABC Mesa Road
June 22 at 8 p.m.
The Grammy Award-winning quartet plays classical and jazz to bluegrass and African music to electric blues and Eastern European folk dances.
Tickets: $37 advance; $42 day of show; kids 12 and under $11. Tickets are available online at ampconcerts.org or by phone through Hold My Ticket at (505) 886-1251.
Fourth of July with WAR
Kit Carson Park
A free concert with Latin soul/funk/rhythm and blues legend WAR. Multiplatinum-selling WAR, the original street band, has been sharing its timeless music and message of brotherhood and harmony for over four decades. The long list of hits includes “Low Rider,” “The World Is A Ghetto,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” “The Cisco Kid” and many more. A fireworks display will cap off the evening. Presented by AMP Concerts and the town of Taos. ampconcerts.org
Lake Street Dive, Jake Shimabukuro and Beat Root Revival
5 p.m., gates open at 4 p.m.
Kit Carson Park
With their singular mix of soul, R&B and wholehearted rock and roll, Lake Street Dive makes music that’s timeless yet immediate, exuberant yet reflective.
The evening opens at 5:30 with multi-instrumentalist roots duo Beat Root Revival followed by ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro at 6:30. Lake Street Dive takes the stage at 8 p.m.
Tickets $27. Kids under 16 free. Hold My Ticket (505) 886-1251. Presented by AMP Concerts. ampconcerts.org
The Mavericks, Los Lobos and Max Gomez
6:30 p.m., gates open 5 p.m.
Kit Carson Park
“Beyond category” is the only label that truly suits Grammy Award-winning group The Mavericks. Celebrating their 30th anniversary, The Mavericks abide as an American musical treasure, with an all-encompassing sound that’s as deep, rousing and entertaining as it is stubbornly impossible to pin down.
Los Lobos were already East L.A. neighborhood legends, Sunset Strip regulars and a Grammy Award-winning band by the time they recorded their major label debut in 1984. Over four decades, the group earned two more Grammys, had a worldwide smash single (“La Bamba”) and thousands of rollicking performances across the globe.
Roots musician Max Gomez is an eclectic songwriter born and raised in Taos — a local favorite.
Tickets $49 in advance, $54 day of show. Kids 12 and under $9. A weekend package for $59 includes WAR on July 4, Lake Street Dive on July 5, and The Mavericks and Los Lobos on July 6. Hold My Ticket (505) 886-1251. Presented by AMP Concerts. ampconcerts.org.
Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf presents an immersive weekend in Kit Carson Park with live music and experimental interactions. Acts include George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Likke Li and CocoRosie. For more information and tickets, visit taosvortex.com.
The 45th Annual Bluegrass and Traditional Music Festival
At this annual Red River event you can look forward to bluegrass, old-time and Americana bands, instructional workshops, dancing, food, beer garden and vendors at various venues around town. This year’s performers include Shawn Lane and Richard Bennett, Nu-Blu, The Purple Hulls, the Family Sowell and more. southwestpickers-festival.org
Kit Carson Park
The world-famous Sting stops in Taos during his Sting: My Songs tour on Labor Day. Special guest is Fantastic Negrito. Northern New Mexico is abuzz with excitement. His tour promises to be a “rollicking, dynamic show focusing on the most beloved songs written by Sting and spanning the 16-time Grammy Award winner’s prolific career with The Police and as a solo artist,” according to press materials. As ever, Sting continues to intrigue and surprise. Maybe no bigger a surprise was adding Taos to his tour dates.
Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance
Kit Carson Park, Taos
Celebrating its 17th year, the Big Barn Dance Music Festival boasts a lineup of the best artists in Americana, folk, bluegrass, singer-songwriters and everything in between.
A listening room experience in a festival setting, this event has an atmosphere unlike any other. With a large tent and two covered dance floors, the festival is a phenomenal experience whether you’re enjoying the beautiful mountain sunshine or a refreshing New Mexico rain. Enjoy the seated listening room setting throughout the weekend. Then on Saturday evening, the chairs are cleared and the tent becomes the finest dance hall in New Mexico.
For tickets and an updated schedule, visit bigbarndance.com.
Red River Folk Festival at Aspencade
Head to Red River for this annual event that showcases traditional, popular-culture music. Aspencade fair features handmade crafts, jewelry, home furnishings, food, art, pottery and specialty goods. This year’s annual Folk Festival kicks off with a show Thursday night at Bitter Creek Ranch and continues on Friday at several other venues throughout Red River including Brandenburg Park (Aspencade), Lost Love Saloon and Motherlode Saloon. redriverchamber.org, (575) 754-2366