Coachella. Bonnaroo. Lollapalooza. These music festivals are legendary, but if you’ve already been there and done that—or if you need even more live music in your life—why not add a few less famous festivals to your must-visit list?... It’s hard to find a more spectacular location to take in a concert than the red-rock canyons of Moab.
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These are some pretty unbeatable venues.
Moab Music Festival, which takes place in the town of Moab, Utah, wins the title for coolest outdoor fest around. Performances happen in red-rock grottos only reachable by boat, ranches, and canyons. The fest also offers musical hikes, in which attendees are shuttled to a secret location for a moderate hike ending with a performance in the middle of nature.
Classical Music Meets the Colorado River: Moab Music Festival
Moab Music Festival Co-Founder and Music Director Michael Barrett recalls the memory fondly. As he sat with his wife Leslie Tomkins in Southern Utah in 1991, they marveled over the view of red rocks, a dramatic storm and a double rainbow. “We just could not believe the beauty of this place,” Barrett said. “My wife said, ‘Let’s make the music festival here.’ And I looked at her and said, ‘That is brilliant. Of course we have to do it here.’” Highlighted by the likes of Smithsonian magazine and The New York Times, the festival enjoys a loyal following as it enters its 24th year come September. More, Pg. 108.
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Utah is well-known for its rust red rock formations and the Moab Music Festival in Utah, left, takes full advantage of this natural setting — sandstone makes for some impressive acoustics. The festival offers intimate concert experiences with jazz, Latin and world music performances happening among the rocky outcrops and caverns.
What to know
You may have been to some fine musical venues in your lifetime, but until you’ve had sandstone walls serve as your acoustics, you haven’t lived.
Making the most of its natural surroundings, the Moab Music Festival proudly sets up shop in various outdoor and indoor venues in Utah’s Colorado Plateau for a multi-day fest of piano concerts, family shows and musical hikes. But while names like Bela Fleck stand out on this year’s calendar, truthfully speaking, it’s the red-rock cliffs surrounding the stages that are the real stars.
Nature provides acoustics at Moab Music Festival