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Enter The Vortex: Taos Vortex Music Festival Review

on August 25, 2019 - 10:04am
Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford
 
Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford
 
Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford
 
By BECKY RUTHERFORD
Los Alamos

Taos Vortex, Meow Wolf’s interactive music festival, returned for its second year Aug. 16-18.

Glitter, tails, costumes, and whatever else people felt like wearing (or not wearing) made for a diverse and colorful crowd.

The vibe was chill, people were happy, and the weather was beautiful. Small children and their families were everywhere, enjoying the art, music and outdoors.

Campers arrived around noon Friday to stake claim to the best spots around beautiful Kit Carson Park.  Campsites were more than simple tents; people brought shelters, fun decorations, and more to make their campsites feel like home and stand out.

Kit Carson Park is home to numerous festivals throughout the year, including the Taos Solar Music Festival, Mumford and Sons, and Alabama Shakes. The town also recently started hosting Movies on the Green, a summertime family event.

The park also includes a 150-year-old cemetery and is the final resting place of Kit Carson, among other historical figures. 

Attendees traveled from all over the country, Florida to California. The best part of the festival was watching people from across America connect with friends for the weekend and making their campsites little homes for the weekend.

I chatted with two people attending the festival, Trankie and Brett. Trankie grew up in Taos and was excited to be back in his hometown. The two came to the festival from Phoenix and have attended numerous other festivals including Phoenix Lights and the Alter Project. Both were excited and looking forward to a weekend of art, music and fun. Many other people I talked to also were Taos natives who had left but returned for the Vortex. 

Day one included headliners George Clinton & Parliament Funk, Too Many Zooz, Mija, Lykke Li, Justin Martin, and Claude Von Stroke. Too Many Zooz kicked it off on the Spire stage with their unique “brass house” sound. I have never seen a fanny pack with more sequins than on their saxophone player, Leo Pelligrino. Their high energy set got the crowd dancing and pumped for more. George Clinton & Parliament Funk kicked it off next on the Spire stage with a funky, beat-driven set.

Meanwhile on the smaller, more intimate Glade stage, Mija, an American electronic music producer, DJ, and promoter, kicked off an energetic, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) set. After Mija, DirtyBird’s Justin Martin and Claude VonStroke threw down EDM/bass-heavy, dance-inducing sets. Claude VonStroke’s set included his teenage kids dancing up on stage with him.

The crowd ranged from young clubbers, up to the 50+ crowd, and all we're getting down. Saturday’s headliners included Barclay Crenshaw, CocoRosie and the 3-D Flying Lotus show. Sunday’s headliners were Zhu, Nick Murphy FKA Chet Faker, From what I heard, music acts on Saturday and Sunday were equally amazing. 

Even more entertaining than the music was the intricate, interactive art set up all over the festival grounds. The 25-acre park was full of costumed performers. Barry Roe Mantis, of the Idaho-based Colossal Collective, freely roamed the grounds.

 Several hut-like structures representing different “house party” areas gave festival-goers a shaded break from the sun. The forest glowed with strange sights including a slinky rainbow forest, and unearthly geometric structures in each of the campgrounds. A cozy, den-like structure with upcycled airplane seats gave people a chill place to lounge, while kids frolicked on the rainbow-colored cushions scattered throughout. 

If you want to attend a hip, chill music festival all without leaving New Mexico, I highly recommend you gather your friends and family and check out the Taos Vortex festival next year. Things might seem a little strange at first (you did just travel through an inter-dimensional rift), but I promise you within an hour or so of arriving, you will feel right at home.

Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford

Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford

Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford

Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford

Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford

Scene from Taos Vortex Music Festival Aug. 16-18 at Kit Carson Park. Photo by Becky Rutherford


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