Photos | Trans-Pecos Festival of Music & Love, Marfa, TX
Rhett Miller | All photos by Agatha Donkar
On paper, Marfa, TX, is an unlikely place for a fantastic music festival, because Marfa, TX, is a town of 2100 residents in West Texas, four hours from the closest major airport in El Paso, as well as seven from Austin in the middle of the state. I wouldn’t have known that Marfa even had a music festival if a friend who lives in Austin hadn’t sent me the website for the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love earlier this year, and said, “Do you want to go to this?”
I did want to go. I did go, in fact. I spent this past weekend in Marfa, where I had the pleasure of seeing an absolutely stacked lineup — Heartless Bastards, Tift Merritt, Bill Callahan, Ben Kweller, John Doe, the Old 97s, Girl in a Coma, Robert Ellis, and Deer Tick, not to mention three nights’ worth of local bands or bands with slightly less high profiles before the heavy hitters — in a crowd of, max, 1000 people.
And I mean, there were probably about a thousand people who bought tickets, total. By the end of the 97s’ raucous set on Friday night, there couldn’t have been more than three or four hundred people watching the band strut and preen on a tiny stage. We were all really, really into that set, though, all three hundred of us.
Every festival is different; every live set is different. This weekend, though, I learned from a bunch of Texans that it’s worth driving 900 miles round trip for a boutique festival, curated by someone who just loves music, because you might get to see John Doe cover “A Case Of You” and Girl in a Coma cover Sam the Sham. Trans-Pecos was one of those magical kinds of weekends where you can’t believe you saw everything you did — Annie Clark of St. Vincent sang the National Anthem a cappella before a sandlot baseball game on Saturday; yes, really, and she’s a lovely and gracious human being as well — and you can bet I’ll be back next year.
Photos from the music of the weekend below, and further photos of Marfa, West Texas, and environs on Flickr.