1 Catch the first of a summer concert series.
On Friday evening, grab a picnic blanket and head to Ashley Pond in Los Alamos, where the city’s outdoor free summer concert series starts with a bang—a live performance by Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters at 6 p.m. on Friday. The group, who take inspiration from 1960s–era rock’n’roll, have been together since 2007. They wrote a ton of new material during the pandemic lockdown—and yes, their frontman is none other than the Academy Award-winning actor. The crowd-pleasing concert series at Ashley Pond continues with performances every Friday night through September 1.
2 Take it to the river.
Starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Farmington kicks off the weekend-long bash of Riverfest. The festival in the town where three rivers meet includes activities like yoga, plein-air painting, disc golf, a car show, wiener dog races, river rafting, a costume contest, a fashion show, and tons of live music.
One last-minute note: Many activities have been moved to Berg Park and Boyd Park to avoid the dangers of unusually high waters. “We have had to move all of the activities that were down in Animas Park and Water Reach Landing,” says D’Ann Waters, president of River Reach Foundation and chair of Riverfest. “The river is much higher than usual and running so much faster.” The only canceled event is the duck race; all other offerings are a go.
Catch tons of vendors at Boyd Park, along with live music and food trucks, plus children’s activities and even more vendors at Berg Park. The festival provides a shuttle between the parks, so you can still access all of the fun. “People just really enjoy being by the river, listening to music, and seeing the vendors,” Waters says. “There are still places to experience the river—you are just not going to be as close to it.”
3 Support Native artists.
An eye-catching array of Indigenous artwork comes to the Santa Fe Community Convention Center during this weekend’s Native Treasures Art Market, in which participating artists are selected by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Artists keep 100 percent of every sale, and ticket proceeds benefit the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs. On Friday, get a first look at the offerings during the Night Market from 5 to 8 p.m., which honors the 2023 MIAC Living Treasure, jeweler Anthony Lovato, and includes refreshments from Tres Colores, and live entertainment by the Jacob Shije Trio. Get tickets here. On Saturday and Sunday, the market opens at 9 a.m.; buy tickets at the door or via this link.
4 Sing the blues.
The annual Silver City Blues Festival, featuring five blowout bands, hits Gough Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Silver locals Blues Dawg and Famous Raymos will represent, along with Oklahoma–based Dirty Red & the Soul Shakers, who play blues on harmonica and guitar with soulful vocals; Cajun rockers the Tyron Benoit Band; and the Memphis–based Ghost Town Blues Band, who play unique instruments like electric push brooms.
More than music, the festival includes a makers’ market featuring local artisan-made crafts, beer gardens, food vendors, and bonus performances all weekend long at venues throughout Silver City.
“This is something the Silver City community looks forward to every year,” says Bryan Hyde, graphic designer for the festival. “We draw visitors from all over the country. Saturday is the main event at Gough Park, but Friday through Sunday, there will be music events and brunches going on.” See a full festival lineup on the event’s website.
5 Go motoring.
A trip around the Enchanted Circle on Memorial Day means motorcycles, as the 41st annual Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally roars into the picturesque mountain town for the long weekend. More than 25,000 bikers attend the bash, which includes live music at the Motherlode Saloon, Red River Brewing Company & Distillery, Noisy Water Winery, and other venues, along with a motorcycle show, a food court at Brandenburg Park, and vendors who set up shop along Main Street, selling everything from leather apparel to motorbike accessories.
“One of the major highlights of the event is all of the nonstop live music from Thursday through Sunday night,” says Maksim Khudiakov, director of economic development and tourism for Red River. “We will have performances happening at bars and restaurants throughout town.” Look forward to a veterans’ flag ceremony in Brandenburg Park on Saturday. Enjoy a cold beer at one of multiple beer gardens throughout town—Ponderosa Lodge serves suds from Blue Dragon Brewery out of Cimarrón; while Red River Brewing Company pours their own. Check the rally’s Facebook page for a full schedule of events and locations.
6 Sip New Mexico wine.
Mark the official start of summer with a glass of wine at the New Mexico Wine Festival, happening at Balloon Fiesta Park Saturday through Monday from noon to 6 p.m. Wineries from around the state have more than 200 varieties to try, and live performances happen all three days. Catch Reviva on Saturday, Nosotros on Sunday, and the Rude Boy Experiment on Monday. Also, shop a market with locally made goods ranging from jewelry to candles, try delicious dishes from tons of food trucks, or check out mini golf, a silent disco, and boozy painting classes. Tickets come with a commemorative wine glass.
The New Mexico Wine Festival is so good, it happens simultaneously in two locations. If you’re down south, you can attend the fest in Las Cruces at the Doña Ana County Fairgrounds, Saturday through Monday. It involves the same sipping fun with local vineyards bringing plenty of varieties to sample and bottles to purchase for home. Live performances from the Matthew Palmer Band, the 575 Band, Benny Bassett, and others happen all three days, too. Shop handmade goods from local makers ranging from bath products to boots, and gobble treats from Island Noodles, Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria, and Triple J Kettle Corn, among many others. Tickets to this iteration also come with a commemorative wine glass.