OUR PICK: Moab Music Festival

August 12, 2011
photo - Musicians play sunset concerts along the Colorado River and in Grotto Concerts at the Moab Music Festivall. Photo by Courtesy Dworkin & Co.
Musicians play sunset concerts along the Colorado River and in Grotto Concerts at the Moab Music Festivall. Photo by Courtesy Dworkin & Co. 

Incredible music and stunning scenery — it doesn’t get any better than that. Treat yourself to plenty of both at the Moab Music Festival, Sept. 1-12 in the spectacular red-rock desert canyons in Moab, Utah, and the surrounding vicinity.

For the 19th consecutive year, the Moab Music Festival keeps its promise of music in concert with the landscape, with sunset concerts along the Colorado River, intimate Musical Walks ending in stunning trails-end concerts performed by world-class musicians, and the festival’s signature Grotto Concerts, in a surrounding that echoes with the history of the region.

Musicians and music lovers from across the country and around the world trek to the festival to perform and listen to musical masterpieces old and new, set among the red-rock canyon lands. The programming includes concerts of classical chamber music, traditional music, vocal music, works of living composers and jazz. Performances take place in indoor and outdoor venues, including the historical Star Hall in Moab and in private indoor salons.

“We think the season will be ideal,” said festival music director Michael Barrett. “We have a wonderful balance of my favorite classical, Latin and new-grass musicians coming to Moab. It’s gratifying to have so much variety, and so much mixing of genres in a two-week period. It makes for a very rich and fulfilling musical experience.”

The festival’s most popular events, the Colorado River Grotto Concerts, are performed in a sonically perfect grotto carved by the spring floods of the Colorado River. Patrons reach the grotto from Moab via festival bus to a landing area, then take a 40-minute, flat-water jet-boat ride under famous Deadhorse Point and “Thelma and Louise” Point.

The Ranch Benefit Concert offers an opportunity to take a leisurely afternoon drive on one of Utah’s Scenic Byways for a tent concert. For the House Benefit Concert, festival supporters open their Moab-area homes and host intimate evenings of music, cocktails and dinner.
If you choose one of the Musical Walk Benefit Concerts, you’ll be transported to a “secret location” for a hike to a natural “concert hall,” suited to the intimacy of works for solo instruments.

Music and nature lovers who dare leave their cellphone, laptop and Facebook status behind can embark on the 2011 Festival Musical Raft Trip, a four-day, three-night custom trip combining rafting on the serene, flat-water sections of the Colorado River, chamber music concerts in extraordinary settings each day, fine food and wine, lively company and even a naturalist to guide you to petroglyphs and petrified wood. A run through the Class III and IV whitewater rapids of Cataract Canyon and a scenic flight back to Moab from Hite Marina on Lake Powell conclude the trip.

Top off your long weekend Sept. 5 with the annual Labor Day Rocky Mountain Power Family Picnic concert at Old City Park. This year’s festival will pay honor to the victims and patriots of 9/11 by celebrating their memory and humanity through music at  7 p.m. Sept. 11 in Star Hall. Elgar’s reflective Piano Quintet in A, Op. 84, and other appropriate works will be presented.


Get a complete schedule of artists and venues, ticketing information, and make reservations for all concerts at www.moab musicfest.org, or by calling 1-435-259-7003 (info@moabmusicfest.org).

For lodging options and packages, as well as more to do and see in the area, visit discover www.moab.com.

Joy Harper, The Gazette

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