The small town of Taos, NM, with a population of about 5000 persons, experienced the supreme pleasure of hosting the award winning band, Mumford and Sons, along with 8000 fans in a delightful outdoor venue in early June, 2013. I write this not so you can bemoan the fact that you were not in attendance or were unaware of this event, but so that you can keep this small town on your short list of places to visit on future camping or RVtrips.
You see, the Mumford visit also brought to town approximately 11,000 persons from outside of Taos. How this small town handled the chaos and met the needs of their visitors is nothing short of exemplary. And, though the Mumford concert is over so that opportunity has passed, this small town hosts similar events on an annual basis.
Most years, the last weekend in June brings the Solar Music Festival to town. As the home of the nation’s largest solar powered radio station, KTAO (www.ktao.com on the web if you want to stream it), it was a natural fit that this community would host a Solar Music Festival to welcome summer. While the festival was put on hiatus this year due to the Mumford and Sons Concert, as both were organized and put on by the Taos Solar Music Festival (www.solarmusicfest.com on the web) group, it is expected to return next June. For those of you looking to plan a destination camping trip, this would be one to keep in mind.
The Festival began in 1998 and hosts dozens of musical acts over its three days of activity. Los Lobos and Michael Franti and Spearhead have been regular participants, performing nearly every year. Lyle Lovett and his acoustic band headlined last year. The family-friendly festival usually tries to book a variety of music, including country and Americana artists as well as folk and rock groups. As with the Mumford Concert, camping is available in the nearby Enos Garcia Elementary School grassy field for a mere $20 per site. They usually have weekend deals that cover two or three night stays as well. Being a very hospitable community, Taos residents also often open their yards for camping for a small fee allowing access to power hookups and/or a bathroom as well. Local restaurants and other establishments offer specials to festival visitors as well.
While we did not attend the Mumford Concert, we were only too happy to support the community and participate in the festivities that preceded the concert. The Chamber of Commerce set up several street fairs the day of the event, starting at noon, involving live bands, including The Damn Band, the premier party band of the Southwest, and other entertainers, such as stiltwalkers and circus performers. There were also booths selling food , sunscreen, cold drinks, Taos souvenirs and the like. A local salon also brought chairs and offered hand or should massages free of charge. Many local residents, including Terry and me, eager to make the visitors to our town welcome, made buttons reading, “I’m from Taos. How can I help?” so visitors would feel comfortable asking questions.
It was a day for my town to be proud of. Things went off largely without a hitch. While attendees had to wait in line to enter Kit Carson Park for the concert, the same usually occurs in much larger venues. From all reports the concert was a big hit and many visitors will return next year for the 15th Annual Solar Music Festival. If you are a music lover and are looking for a place to camp the last weekend in June, 2014, pencil Taos, NM into your calendar and check out the program online as it develops.
Read more about New Mexico camping and things to do in New Mexico.