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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Writing for Smithsonian Magazine, Jamie Bernstein (daughter of American legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, and frequent guest performer) provides a glimpse into the magic of the Moab Music Festival. “With its stunning red rocks, the area around Moab is an adventurer's paradise…But when the summer heat tapers off around Labor Day, the region becomes an extraordinary concert hall for world-class musicians…Music lovers hear anew some of world's best classical music as it resonates off the rocks or finds acoustical purity in the dead silence of the remote settings.” Visit Smithsonian Magazine to read Bernstein’s big picture of this most unique venue.
In Nature's Own Concert Hall, Sound Is Forever
It is a rare music festival that requires patrons to sign a risk waiver as they purchase tickets, writes Mindy Sink in the NY Times, but that is one of the peculiarities of the Moab Music Festival, which takes the idea of outdoor concerts to the extreme by ferrying musicians, guests and instruments - including a Steinway grand piano - 15 miles along the Colorado River for a late afternoon performance in a towering red-rock grotto. The festival neatly combines culture with the area's reputation for adventure travel. It's the rare natural acoustics of the grotto that attracts musicians from all over.”
Nestled along the Colorado River and wedged between the Arches and Canyonlands national parks, the town of Moab mostly draws visitors in search of extremes. Mountain bikers test their mettle on the bone-jarring Slickrock Trail; off-road 4x4s with outlandishly big tires crawl up petrified sand dunes; flocks of Cessnas drop skydivers over the baking-hot desert. Yet for two weeks a year, this adrenaline-fueled town makes room for a small crowd of classical-music lovers and out-of-town musicians who come here for a series of concerts that explore more subtle extremes of intimacy with nature—and silence.