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May 2019 - Turn it Up: Monolith on the Mesa “A High Desert Rock & Art Experience”

Taos is now the epicenter for a new music and art festival. Monolith On The Mesa: A High Desert Rock & Art Experience is a music experience intertwined with an art event. It features an indoor stage with a 400 person capacity and an outdoor “earthship” amphitheatre which holds 1,500 people. Dano Sanchez, organizer of the event, took a moment to speak with us on the inspiration of the event and why it is so unique.

What was it about Taos that you thought would be a good fit for Monolith on the Mesa?

Well the landscape is pretty surreal.If you have never been to the Southwest it generally blows peoples h/minds.Taos is a special place, the Tewa people have lived in Taos Pueblo for over 1,000 years and it reflects in the overall vibe here.The Rio Grande Gorge follows a tectonic chasm, so it’s energy is wild!Its the bridge that’s on “Natural Born Killers” when Mickey and Mallory pledge their love for each other, right when the trippy animation starts, that’s just the warm up!

Where did the idea come from?

When I moved to town this new spot opened up.Taos Mesa Brewing is a very cool venue.The thought came soon after The Melvin’s played and myself and Al Cisneros(OM/Sleep) we’re walking around and I was telling him bout this dream of mine to get Sleep or OM to play, and he was like “when the time is right”.Thats really all I needed to run with!I started talking with my friend and there was about 3 years to really visualize what could be a really unique experience out here in the boonies.

What does Monolith offer that makes this festival unique?

Well I think that our line up has a broad spectrum line up, all that is heavy.When I first started visualizing the line up in my head it was like fantasy football, who would I want to see?Then there’s the setting.The Taos Mesa is a very quiet place that really gets you set in the vibe of Taos.The Sanger de Christo(blood of Christ) Mountain range.We have a great festival experience with Hotel Luna Mystica where we are offering packages to stay in a vintage trailer park which is steps away from the venue, as well as camping and primitive RV spots as well.The venue itself, Taos Mesa Brewing has a great feel sitting out in the high desert.The indoor stage was made for live music, and in a Quonset hut none less.The outdoor “earthship” amphitheater is under the Milky Way just west of the mountains on the edge of the gorge listening to great music.We have two local legends Christian Ristrow and Christina Sporrong providing us with some great large scale interactive installations.There will be a host of artisans vending their wares, along with a skate ramp sponsored by Vans, and lastly the cherry on top is The Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show who will be providing a lasting impression on our psyche with his 21st century Liquid light show.

Tell us a little about the bands that will be playing. What is their draw?

Well our line up is well rounded in the “all is heavy” category. Mostly hard rock, psych, stoner, desert, and drone all the artists will bring their unique sounds that make our inaugural voyage a special one.The scene that subscribes to this lifestyle music are very loyal and dedicated.Experience seekers see no distance as to hinder the persuit of ‘higher education” in this run on this plane.The Southwestern United States offers those who are on a quest the vast space and open air to breathe and take moments that offers your soul a primal touch that it yearns for.

What do you want attendees feeling when they leave this festival?

What we are really working for is for everyone’s experience to be a “choose your own adventure” because of the many different options to explore.The experience of possibilities and co creating a time like no other festival.Knowing that we are raising vibrations high that weekend and what we are focusing on will reverberate through or galaxy and be heard til eternity.

To learn more about the event and purchase tickets visit

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