For the last 16 years, Red River has been home to one of the best music festivals in New Mexico - Larry Joe Taylor's Hot Chili Days & Cool Mountain Nights. Larry Joe rounds up some excellent singer songwriters and some loyal fun loving music fans and heads to the rustic mountain town of Red River for 3 days of excellent music, BBQ, good times, and cool weather. As part of an action packed New Mexico Summer Vacation we attended the festival and you can read our review of Hot Chili Days & Cool Mountain Nights to learn why we think this is one of the best music festivals around. In addition to excellent music, what makes this festival outstanding are the unique music venues and the small crowd of music fans that attend. This page is dedicated to both!
The Lost Love Saloon
Each afternoon of the festival the Lost Love Saloon comes alive with music and a packed house of music fans. The Lost Love Saloon is a part of Texas Red's Steakhouse and it's got a cool old western type bar, loaded with memories and memorabilia, and a small balcony overlooking Main Street. Red River local Mike Addington kicked off the music each afternoon and over the three days he was joined on stage by Chuck Pyle, Richard Leigh, hONEyhoUSe, Michael Hearne, and other talented musicians. On Friday morning, the Lost Love Saloon is host to "Bloody Mary Morning" with music by Bob Livingston who was joined by Susan Herndon. The music's great, the food from Texas Reds Steakhouse is good, the bartenders are excellent, and the beer is cold - we know that's true since we spent three afternoons and one morning at the Lost Love Saloon and we seemed to see a lot of familiar faces there each afternoon!
The Lost Love Saloon was packed each afternoon and Bloody Mary Morning.
The Motherlode Saloon
After the music stopped at the Lost Love Saloon, we would take a few steps to the front door of Texas Reds Steakhouse, carefully walk down the stairs, turn left and walk a few more yards to the Motherlode Saloon for the evening music. The Motherlode Saloon is a Main Street landmark and the place to be for music, dancing, and sprits. It's got a lot of western mining town charm and is home to a 500 square foot dance floor complete with sawdust, a long bar, and on the backside of the bar another area with a bar.
Just down the Motherlode front steps, Larry Joe and team set up a large tent with a stage, dance floor, and picnic tables next to Main Street for music each evening. The backside bar area was reserved for VIPs and included appetizers and more each evening.
And the dance floor was typically packed with cheering fans and two-steppers twirling around the dance floor.
The Tip Mountain Top Concert
After "Bloody Mary Morning" on Friday, we walked to the base of Red River Ski Area for a ride up the chairlift for music on the deck of the Tip restaurant at the summit! The crisp cool air and the ride from 8750' to the top of the summit at 10,370' helped clear out the cobwebs. What a scenic ride up the mountain and when you got to the top, it was a few yards to the the deck of the Tip restaurant where Michael Hearne and Richard Leigh entertained us for a couple hours. It just doesn't get any better than high altitude music, jaw dropping scenery, perfect weather, cold beer, and a music loving fan base. And the chili cheeseburger was pretty good.
Red River's Brandenburg Park
In the center of town is Brandenburg Park which hosted the music on Friday and all day Saturday. The Park is surrounded by the mountains and Larry Joe had set up a big stage, a bar area, a VIP tent adjacent to the stage, and huge tent in front of the stage. Kids, dogs, and lawn chairs filled with friendly folks were everywhere. The front of the stage was left open for dancers. What a great outdoor setting for music - cool crisp mountain air, beautiful scenery, good acoustics, and grass for the blankets and lawn chairs.
Red River Cook-off
During the festival, in back of the tent and around the perimeter of Brandenburg Park, the cooks had set-up their grills and the smell of BBQ filled the town. The Park was host to the Chili Appreciation Society International "Red River Red" Cook-off, the New Mexico Green Chili State Championship, and the Lone Star BBQ Society. The fun part for us was walking around meeting some of the cooks, sampling their delicious BBQ, and marveling at some of the fancy grills and team names. There were also a few other vendors selling food and drinks.
To read more about this great festival, click on Review of Hot Chili Days & Cool Mountain Nights.