So Much Music, So Little Time…

Norther New Mexico is a treasure for lovers of live music

By Ellen Miller-Goins
People dance in all sorts of footwear as The Fretliners, an award winning bluegrass band from Lyons, Colo., perform at the 35th annual High Hazard Hoedown, a fundraiser event for the Taos Ski Valley ski patrol, on Friday (March 15). (DANIEL PEARSON/Taos News)

Nowhere. This is the Jeopardy answer to the question, “Where are there more talented musicians per square mile than in Northern New Mexico?” A corollary question might be, “Where are there more amazing music venues in a rural setting?”

Our local restaurants and bars feature a varied selection of jazz, rock, folk,
pop, Spanish and world music. In Taos fans can find live music at The Alley Cantina, El Monte Sagrado’s Anaconda Bar, Dona Luz Social Club, Daleee at KTAOS Solar Center, La Luna at Hotel La Fonda, Rolling Still Distillery, Barra Vino, Sagebrush Inn, Adobe Bar at Taos Inn, Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, Goathead Collective, The Burger Stand, and The Gorge Bar and Grill.

In Arroyo Seco, find music at Sabroso Restaurant and events under the Seco Live banner. Up in Tres Piedras, check out the Chili Line Depot. In Red River, stop by Bull of the Woods, Red  River Brewing Company & Distillery, Texas Red’s Lost Love Saloon, or the legendary Motherlode Saloon. In Angel Fire, head to Zeb’s (Zebadiah’s) or enjoy music and spectacular sunsets at Elements Fine Dining and Bar. Eagle Nest offers Coman­che Creek Brewing, Lucky Shoe and the Laguna Vista Saloon.

Ashley Willock performs to an energetic audience during the Juneteenth celebration on Sunday at Revolt Gallery. (Nathan Burton/Taos News)

Summer Concert Series & Festivals

Taos Opera Institute – May 24 – June 30 
Every summer, the Taos Opera Institute invites Rromisingyoung artists and esteemed faculty to if Taos Ski Valley fm intensive lessons and free concerts for the Greater Taos Community, as well as an annual Showcase Gala at The Taos  Community Auditorium. Learn more at

Cool Summer Nights – June 14 – September 6
Bring a lawn chair, blanket, friends, and your dancing shoes! Cool Summer Nights Concert Series is back for 2024 and will offer free live music from
5-7p.m. Every Friday night in Angel Fire’s Frontier Park this summer.

The Taos School Of Music – June 16 – August 4 
NPR called this Taos School of Music and Chamber Music Festival, “One of the most prestigious and intimate of summer music school in the country.” Each summer since 1963, elite young artists from around the world come to Taos to study with famed string quartets. Faculty and young artists present weekly concerts in Taos and Taos Ski Valley. Learn more at

Cowboy Evening – June 20 – Labor Day Weekend 
The lewis family and crew host Cowboy Evenings at the top of Bobcat Pass outside Red River. Cowboy Evenings begins around 4;30p.m. with family activities followed by dinner a cooked over open flames and in Dutch ovens – cowboy-style and entertainment by Syd Masters, winner of the 2019 Western Heritage Wrangler Award for his contribution to Western Culture. Learn more at

The sun sets during at El Come Back Fest in August 2021. The two day festival featured a lineup of bands, local food, vendors, and drinks by Rolling Still Distillery. (Nathan Burton/Taos News file photo)

Taos Plaza Live – June 27 – August 8, 2024 
Fun, free, family entertainment Thursday nights at the Historic Taos Plaza or Kit Carson Park with local bands playing everything from rock & roll to blues to traditional Northern New Mexican Spanish music. Bring your chairs and blankets and picnic. (There is no plaza live on July 4 or July 18 during Fiestas de Taos) Learn more at

Rockin’ 3M Chuckwagon Dinner & Show – June 29 – August 24 
Micheal Martin Murphey’s  Rockin’ 3M Chuckwagon Dinner & Show provides Western entertainment and barbecue a few miles up Bitter Creek Road in Red River twice weekly. Grammy nominee Michael Murphey and bandmates perform some of his hits, new songs and western cowboy favorites at an amphitheater overlooking a small lake that was once part of the Bitter Creek Guest Ranch. Learn more at

The Avett Brothers With Iron & Wine at Kit Carson Park – July 3
The Avett Brothers With Iron & Wine perform July 3rd at Kit Carson Park. Three time Grammy Award nominees, The Avett Brothers, combine bluegrass, country, punk, pop melodies, folk, rock & roll, indie rock, honkytonk, and ragtime to produce their own unique sound. Iron & wine is singer-songwriter Sam Beam whose “distinctly cinematic songs” never fail to capture the emotion and imagination of listeners. Tickets are available at

Dulcimer and Old Tyme Music Festival – August 2- 4
Free workshops and concerts at the Red River Community House. Come learn to play mountain or hammered dulcimer. This year’s teachers and performers are Joe Collins, The Vanderveers, Sweet Song String Band featuring Dana Hamilton & David Lindsey, Scott & Irma Reeder, and David Ellison. Learn more at

Red River’s Rockin’ 3M Chuckwagon Dinner & Show in 2023. (Photo courtesy Jon Barber)

Bloom & Bone Music Festival – August 9 – 10 
This intimate festival takes root in the heart of the stunning landscape Ghost Ranch that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe’s life and work in Abiquiu, west of Taos and north of Santa Fe. Festival-goers can enjoy two days of music featuring Vance Joy, Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams, Courtney Barnett, Dakhabrakha and more. Camp, glamp, sip and eat from local vendors and breweries, enjoy morning yoga, hike, swim, ride horseback, and dance into a red rock sunset and starry New Mexico night. Learn more at

Music From Angel Fire – August 15 – 29 
Founded in 1983, Music from Angel Fire’s revised mission statement since 2018 is to “enrich the lives of Northern New Mexico residents and visitors through extraordinary music performances and educational outreach programs that are sustainable.” Named in 2019, artistic directors Tara Helen O’Connor, flutist, and Daniel Phillips, violinist, invite amazing musicians, students and composers to perform at concerts held in Taos and Angel Fire. Learn more at

8750 BBQ and Music Festival – August 15 – 17 
The 8750’ BBQ & Music Festival combines live music with BBQ and chili in Red River. Highlights of the 2024 lineup include Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dale Watson, Uncle Lucius, Seth James, Jesse Daniel, Josh Weathers, along with many more local and national favorites. Learn more at

Dwight Yoakam with The Mavericks – August 24
Country music superstar Dwight Yoakam returns to Taos for a concert at Kit Carson Park. Yoakam has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. His Grammy Award record boasts 18 nominations and two wins. He was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. The Mavericks is an “eclectic rock and country group known for crisscrossing musical boundaries with abandon.” Tickets are available at

Dwight Yoakam performs at Kit Carson Park in Taos in July 2017. (Taos News file photo)

Shakey Graves – August 25
The performance moniker of Austin, Texas-born Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the ever-bold Shakey Graves is set to perform at Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership west of Taos. His dynamic blues, folk, country and rock ‘n roll style won him an Americana Music Award in 2015 for “Emerging Artist of the Year.” On tour for his latest album “Movie of the Week,” Rose-Garcia has devised his most innovative musical adventure yet. A performance at the legendary Mothership is sure to impress. Tickets available at

Micheal Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival – September 5 – 7
Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival is an annual tradition for music lovers and dancers from across the Southwest and beyond. Award-winning musician Michael Hearne invites some of the best songwriters in the music business to perform their original music in a listening room atmosphere. There is a side dance floor all three days, and on the last night the main floor clears for a big barn dance like none other. Learn more at

The Obsessed blast doom metal and stoner rock during their performance Friday (Sept. 16) during the Monolith on the Mesa music festival in Taos. (Nathan Burton/Taos News)