What can be better in the summertime than warm nights and live music?
The Southwest Traditional and Bluegrass Music Association, also known as Southwest Pickers, will host the 47th Annual Bluegrass and Traditional Music Festival, which runs 3-9 p.m. Friday, June 17 and 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood.
“Well, it was tough you know, in 2020 would have been our annual event, but we had to shut down like everybody else did,” said Tony Mora, Southwest Pickers president, talent coordinator and webmaster. “We kind of kept our tradition going, as we produced it virtually but we didn’t call it what others were sort of calling theirs, a festival, we were just that we wanted to keep our things on.”
This year’s co-headliners features up-and-coming Bluegrass band, The Hillsiders who mix old time and bluegrass genres.
“This year, we moved our events on a larger venue to a smaller venue,” Mora said. “In doing so we thought it would be less awkward and more opportunistic, actually, for more local entertainment.”
This celebration of traditional acoustic music includes a mix of bluegrass, old time, traditional Appalachian dulcimer, Americana and various folk concerts, along with workshops, open mic, banjo and lodging raffles and more activities for the entire family.
Another group, The Rifters, come from southern Colorado and northern New Mexico and will mesmerize the crowd with a range of musical genres collectively referred to as Americana.
One interesting band consists of school kids labeled the ATC Acoustic Band, hailing from the Academy for Technology and the Classics in Santa Fe.
“So it’s part of our continuing education initiatives is to have groups trying to encourage the younger people out there that might be interested in this type of music and entertainment,” Mora said. “So the ATC Spring band has been in place for quite some years and they have a great instructor in Eric Carlson who has been involved and does a great job of putting together samples to bring to our events.”
The ATC group is one of the yearly locals at the event.
“I think we’ve had an ensemble from this group, at least five or six times, so we really like bringing them down, they’re always a crowd favorite,” Mora said.
Also appearing are New Mexico’s own The Crooked and The Cracked, Kitty Jo Creek, the High Desert Rangers, ABQ Skeleton Crew, dulcimer virtuosos David and Annette Lindsey, and a falconry exhibition presented by world-renowned falconer Tom Smylie.