Five Highlights of Trans-Pecos Festival 2016

Spectator at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

The Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love is all about good vibes only. This year was no different. Once again, devotees camped on the grounds of El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas for a weekend of self expression, community, and of course, music.

Artists both big and small comprised the lineup, and many repeatedly conveyed their gratitude for being part of the fête and expressing hopes to return.

While the entire weekend was magical, there were a few performances that especially stuck out. Here’s a recap of five of the most rejuvenating and invigorating sets of the weekend:

1. Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

The country darling and her band shined as bright as the night sky in light-up costumes. Singing about self-acceptance and tolerance delivered with southern charm (“mind your own biscuits,” “follow your arrow”), Musgraves proved she’s got the talent and the attitude to push boundaries in country music and beyond.

2. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

Ever wonder where the “sweats” comes from in this band’s name? See them live and wonder no more. One of the most electrifying performances of the entire weekend, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats had everyone on their feet as they poured their souls into every song.

3. Wye Oak
Wye Oak at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

Wye Oak at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

The Baltimore duo put on a mesmerizing performance at dusk, playing fan favorites from Shriek and Civilian, as well as new songs from their latest release, Tween. I only wish their set had lasted longer.

4. Eleanor Freidberger
Eleanor Friedberger at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

Eleanor Friedberger at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

One half of The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Freidberger delivered her collection of honest songwriting effortlessly. She’s a badass who’s not afraid to approach taboo subjects in her lyrics (“Two Versions of Tomorrow,” “Other Boys”), including messy relationships, anxiety, and more. Despite the sometimes sombre lyrics, the music remains uplifting, as showcased by children who gleefully danced to the music.

5. Mexrrissey + Calexico
Calexico and Mexrrissey at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

Calexico and Mexrrissey at Trans-Pecos Festival by Lauren Slusher

The Mexican Institute of Sound’s Mexican Morrissey cover band, known as Mexrrissey, is one of the greatest things ever conceived. Festival-goers danced the night away to Mexrrissey’s flavorful take on the icon’s discography. Then there’s Calexico’s irresistible bachata that gets everyone’s hips moving. When Calexico and Mexrrissey joined forces on stage together the last night of the festival? Unstoppable. All hail the lords of dance.

Thank you Trans-Pecos Festival for another unforgettable weekend. I’ll be dreaming of music, love and Marfa lights until next time.

Photos by Lauren Slusher of Bonnie and Lauren Photography 

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