Beppe Gambetta and Dan Crary
Camping on Reservoir Hill
Four Corners Folk Festival on Labor Day Weekend
—Barb and Ty Belknap
This Labor Day weekend, August 29, 30, and 31, you can bet your boots that we'll be back at the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Last year we stayed home to attend a longtime friend's wedding while a slew of others from Placitas and Bernalillo attended the festival, bringing home reports that they had a blast, despite the fact that drought forced the festival into an open field below the wooded slopes of Reservoir Hill.
After a great winter's snowfall and near-normal spring precipitation, the festival has moved back into the woods across from the downtown mineral baths, where you can camp out with other music lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and old friends. You can wander from camp jam to camp jam, sitting in with an instrument or just listening to talented amateurs during the rare break in professional entertainment (or the off chance that you feel like skipping the crowd at the main stage). If you really want to get away, there is a nine-mile system of trails, and always the lure of the nearby hot springs.
The venue brings world-class music from the "new frontier of folk," which includes jazz, blues, zydeco, klezmer, bluegrass, “newgrass,” Cape Breton, Celtic, and combinations of all the above. We plan to enjoy three glorious days of live performances, jam sessions, workshops, spectacular sunsets, and stargazing in the crisp, clean air of the San Juan Mountains.
The festival is its own small music city, with a variety of vendors offering everything from handmade crafts to toys, imported clothing, and last-minute festival supplies. The food booths usually include Thai food, vegetarian wraps, homemade burritos, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, fruit smoothies, and barbecue. But best of all is, of course, the fabulous 2003 musical lineup.
Every fiddler's favorite has got to be this year's festival headliner Natalie MacMaster, who was voted 2002 Entertainer of the Year by East Coast Music Awards. Aside from being an awesome Cape Breton fiddle player, she is a celebrated dancer and internationally renowned concert performer. Having seen her perform in Albuquerque, we guarantee that her show is a high-energy delight that will shake the pines.
In addition to Natalie MacMaster, attendants can expect to be "wowed"—up close and personal—by the rest of the performers: Eddie from Ohio, Wayfaring Strangers, Drew Emmitt Band, Darrell Scott, Laura Love Band, Tony Furtado and the American Gypsies, Wisechild, Ruthie Foster, Beppe Gambetta and Dan Crary, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Slaid Cleaves, The Bill Hilly Band, Frontline, Marc Atkinson Trio, Pagosa Hot Strings, and Eliza Gilkyson.
Informal workshops, the cornerstone of the Four Corners Folk Festival, will abound this year. They are led by MacMaster and many of the other top performers at no additional cost. A guitar workshop with Beppe Gambetta, songwriting with Darrell Scott or Slaid Cleaves, a banjo lesson with Tony Furtado, perhaps?
At a time when so many other music festivals have gotten too big for their britches, we are fortunate to still have the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs offering top-shelf entertainment at an affordable price amid a friendly old-time community of music lovers. Organizer Crista Monroe said, "Many folks come up to enjoy one last hurrah before the kids head back to school and the frost is on the pumpkin. We really look forward to enjoying this event ourselves every year."
Pagosa Springs is just over the border in south central Colorado. The drive up from Albuquerque takes about four hours. For details on camping, lodging, parking, multiple-day ticket discounts, and more, visit www.folkwest.com or call 1-877-472-4672.
Taos Valley Overlook fully protected
Next time you drive to Taos from points south, take a look to your left as you cruise the horseshoe curve on NM Highway 68, and take in the spectacular vista of the Taos Gorge with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains rising up in the distance. Savor the moment: that view is at last permanently protected, thanks to a partnership between The Trust for Public Land, the landowners, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Taos Land Trust.
This means that the 2,581-acre property will not become a vast subdivision, as some feared. Instead, the area will be managed by BLM as part of the Orilla Verde Recreation Area and will be open to the public for kayaking, rafting, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and scenic viewing. BLM anticipates that the property, which lies within the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River corridor, will be open for use by residents and visitors in early 2004.
Two native communities located downstream from the famous vista also helped make this project possible. Through land exchanges with BLM, the pueblos of Santo Domingo and San Felipe were able to reclaim 27,500 acres of culturally significant land, including sacred sites near their pueblos, that had once belonged to the tribes. Other funding for the acquisition was made available through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
A plaque embedded in a large boulder at the site acknowledges the most significant contributors to the project: the former landowners, the Klauer family of Dubuque, Iowa. Although they do not live in New Mexico, the Klauer family understood the scenic, recreational, and environmental values of the property and wanted to see the land protected as a resource that allowed appropriate public access while also protecting wildlife habitat.
“My dad (W.H. Klauer) loved Taos,” said Jim Klauer. “He enjoyed the land and the scenery, but he truly loved the people.” In addition to donating a portion of this spectacular land, the Klauers donated land to the University of New Mexico for a new campus, appropriately named the UNM-Taos Klauer campus. “My family wants to continue its close connection to Taos. Now when we visit, we can stop at the plaque on the Taos Valley Overlook property and feel proud of what we were able to do for the community.”
Reprinted from The Trust for Public Land: New Mexico, Spring-Summer 2003.
Guidebook for short getaways from Albuquerque
Near Horizons: A Weekender’s Guide to Easy Getaways from Albuquerque, by M.J. Cain, illustrated by Cirrelda Snider, is now available. Trips are chosen based on destinations that are within 179 miles of Albuquerque—such as Jemez Springs, Pecos, Grants, Cuba, Chimayo, Gallup, Quemado, Carrizozo and Capitan, Truth or Consequences, Conchas Lake and Santa Rosa, Dulce and Chama, Tres Ritos, and Aztec.
Cain presents a treasure trove of information about places that are close at hand but not usually thought of as destinations.
The getaways are presented as delightful journeys and the author offers practical knowledge about lodgings, restaurants, day hikes, flora and fauna, recreational resources, camping opportunities, history, and architecture. The book provides useful tips for navigation, snippets about local culture and flavorful neighborhoods, and interesting facts about the contrasting environments of New Mexico.
M. J. Cain has written articles, reports, and books spanning archaeology to public history. The author has studied and explored New Mexico and the Southwest for the past fifteen years.
To receive a copy, ask your favorite independent bookstore to order it or come by the Los Ranchos Growers Market any Saturday, summer to fall, from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. or contact La Alameda Press at 897-0285. The guidebook is distributed by the University of New Mexico Press.