Memorial Day weekend is a great time to take a road trip, and, for live-music lovers, one the best options for a quick getaway is the Desert Rocks Music Festival in Moab, Utah.
The event takes place Saturday through Monday in the gorgeous desert environs of southeastern Utah. Desert Rocks will feature live music by Chali 2Na, Groundation, Abstract Rude, Wisebird, JGB with Melvin Seals, The Motet, The Mother Hips and more.
Who: Desert Rocks Music Festival
When: Saturday through Monday
Where: Moab, Utah
Cost: $105 online through Wednesday night; $125 at the gate
Plus, this is one of the most environmentally friendly fests in the west. Desert Rocks developed a sustainability program to protect its beautiful Moab location. This is Utah’s first zero-waste, 100-percent renewable-energy powered music festival.
John Ripley is the founder of Desert Rocks and he’s looking forward to the festival’s sixth year.
“I grew up in Utah, so I was excited to create a music festival here,” Ripley said. “The weather’s nice, the red rock cliffs gives this place a mystical setting, we offer lots of activities like rafting, hiking and biking — and lots of music.
“This is smaller than a lot of other festivals and it’s very community oriented. This is the kind of festival where you can come and meet people. The atmosphere is very chill and people have a good time.”
Desert Rocks’ entertainment will include a full roster of music acts, plus everything from fire dancers to an aerial trapeze ballet. Camping is included in the price of multiple-day passes.
“We can hold 6,000 people,” Ripley said. “Everyone gets their money’s worth and tickets will be available at the door. This is the kind of festival where you can go up to the promoters and we’ll be there to help you solve any problem.”
Concertgoers will be provided with all the amenities of a regular concert, and Desert Rocks will offer a variety of vendors.
Desert Rocks also initiated a new electronic-music stage dubbed the SolLun. The stage will be solar-powered and will feature everything from DJ’s to trapeze dancers.
The musicians also are excited about playing Desert Rocks.
“This is the first time we’re playing the festival,” said Stafford Harrison, frontman for the jazzy, reggae outfit Groundation. “This is a great environment for a concert and it will give our nine-piece band the chance to really improvise and connect with people.”
Wisebird is a blues and rock band from Austin, Texas, and the group’s become a regular feature at Desert Rocks.
“We not only play the festival, but we’ve also pitched in to help build the stage,” keyboardist Trevor Nealon said. “The setting here is surreal and it’s always the best show of the year for us. You make a lot of friends at Desert Rocks and it’s unlike any other music festival.”
Desert Rocks publicist Jaime Taylor added: “This is more than just a party. It’s an experience and a great way to kick off the summer.”