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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As Moab Music Festival looked ahead to its 20th Anniversary “…— a remarkable accomplishment for the festival, which has thrived and even prospered,” David Burger (The Salt Lake Tribune) notes “…this year the festival features 21 separate events and concerts, a far cry from the five events offered during its first year.” He also wrote about the number 19, and its special significance for the festival’s 19th season: “1) Festival co-founder Michael Barrett on his first visit to Moab came from driving from northern Utah on Highway 191…2) As he drove through Moab, Barrett’s car's odometer registered 191,919 miles…3) To top it all off, both Barrett and Johann Sebastian Bach have 19 letters in their full names…”
“Utah's Living Room”
During the Moab Music Festival’s 2011 season, David Burger (The Salt Lake Tribune) observed, “The label of chamber music comes from the notion that smaller classical music ensembles would be able to fit inside of a chamber, or small room.” He then asked, “But what happens when you take the room out of the equation?” His reply: “…Three [outdoor] Grotto Concerts serve as signature events of the festival that celebrates the mystical tandem of music and landscape: each is elevated by the other…the Grotto — a stunning natural amphitheater — has been referred to as ‘nature's concert hall’…” But after hearing several concerts in this natural setting, Burger realized “But then it strikes you. You are in a room, Utah's living room. And it's perfect.”
When David Amram served as resident composer at the 2011 Moab Music Festival, Celia R. Baker of The Salt Lake Tribune wrote: “‘Music in concert with the landscape’ is the mantra of the Moab Music Festival, but also describes the life journey of this year's composer-in-residence at the equally diverse Moab Music Festival…the almost indescribable David Amram…Amram is a polyglot of so many styles and influences that he can't be pigeonholed — musically or otherwise…He's a one-man musical melting pot…For those reasons and more, Amram is a good fit for the Moab Music Festival…”
Don’t Miss: Grotto Concert I, Sept. 2
"Music in concert with the landscape" is more than an advertising slogan for the Moab Music Festival
"A Wonderful Place to Play Music"
In summer 2010, legendary Cuban composer and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera returned to the Moab Music Festival for the featured Western United States premiere of his work “Conversations with Cachao.” Salt Lake Tribune writer Celia R. Baker noted, “D'Rivera is pleased about returning to the Moab Music Festival, where he has performed several times…‘It's a wonderful place to play music, and I don't complain about the hot weather. I [was] born on a very hot island. The dryness is hard on reeds, but that's all right. Life is work,’ he said with a laugh. You have to do some work.’"
"For people who have never been to southeastern Utah, “once-in-a-lifetime” is a good way to describe it. And for everyone who loves chamber music, the description is even more apropos. There really isn’t a better place where music and nature can come together so congenially. It’s as if this was always meant to be.”