Trans Pecos Festival of Music & Love

Trans Pecos is magic, and it happens once a year: a gathering of friends, music, art, camping, sandlot baseball and a night sky full of stars in Marfa, Texas. The festival leaves you plenty of time to explore Marfa and the surrounding high desert. Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Highlights
9207 TX-17, Toyahvale, TX 79786, USA
Did you know that the world’s largest spring fed swimming pool is located in the high desert in West Texas? I’d heard of Balmorhea on a previous visit to Marfa, so when the weather got relentless this time, I drove north, in search of cold water to dive into.

Arriving at Balmorhea after an hours drive through the arid high desert felt like a mirage. It’s almost like you don’t quite trust your eyes. The pool is huge and the water a deep color of turquoise. It’s paradise, except for those pesky little black fish that nobody had warned me about. As soon as you stop swimming those little buggers come to nibble at you like a swarm of underwater mosquitoes. It’s funny, and trust me, it keeps you moving!

I only went to Balmorhea for the afternoon to cool off, but they do have overnight options there. Even if you’re only there for a few hours, bring some food–as the options to buy anything good are thin.

Open daily from 8 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes first
Entrance fees: adult: $7 daily, child 12 years and under: free

>>>Warmest thanks to the awesome team at El Cosmico for another unforgettable Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love–an annual gathering of friends, music, art, camping, sandlot baseball and a night sky full of stars in Marfa, Texas. Love you guys.
117 South Dean Street
Marfa is a place of outstanding artists and makers. One of them–no doubt–is Ginger Griffice. I’ve known Ginger since meeting her at Trans Pecos last year and I’ve been a frequent shopper at her Marfa Brands Store, where she sells her soaps, fun glassware and other neat items. This time, I finally caught her in action, making a brand new batch of her amazing artisanal soaps. Ginger takes much of her olfactory inspiration from the desert that surrounds Marfa. Her natural soaps are made from vegetable and essential oils, and she often adds tea (green, Earl Grey, Lapsang souchon) for added scent, color, and texture. If you’re looking to take a little bit of Marfa back home with you, this is the place.

Fun fact: one of Marfa Brands Soaps, Ranch Road, was specifically created for El Cosmico, to capture ‘the smell of rain, and the free spirit that El Cosmico is all about’.

Opening times are fluid, Marfa style. If Ginger’s store is closed, you can always swing by the ‘Get Go’ grocery, a short block away, and pick up a few bars there.

>>>Warmest thanks to the awesome team at El Cosmico for another unforgettable Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love–an annual gathering of friends, music, art, camping, sandlot baseball and a night sky full of stars in Marfa, Texas. Love you guys.
105 South Highland Avenue
One of my most favorite recent additions to Marfa is the stunning and thoughtfully designed Hotel St. George. The new structure, owned by a longtime Marfa resident, occupies the same location as its historic namesake which shut down in 1929.

Just like the old days you will still find cowboys, travelers and locals mingling at the bar in addition to a more recent international arts crowd. The new St. George has quickly become a community hub for Marfa. Happy hour rocks and the food at the bar and in the dining room LaVenture is delicious. Important for Marfa where food options can be quite sparse, the St. George is open 7 days a week.

Staying at the hotel is a treat since you’re pretty much thrown right into the middle of Marfa’s universe. The rooms are spacious, industrial, and minimalist in design and totally comfortable. A great collection of contemporary art by local artists is on display in the guest rooms and public spaces. I just love the vibe of the place.

Not to be forgotten, one of my all-time favorite independent book stores, the Marfa Book Company has made its home at the St. George as well. Located at one end of the spacious lobby, it is always open, just in case you fancy a shopping spree at 3am.

>>>Warmest thanks to the awesome team at El Cosmico for another unforgettable Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love–an annual gathering of friends, music, art, camping, sandlot baseball and a night sky full of stars in Marfa, Texas. Love you guys.
2701 US-90, Alpine, TX 79830, USA
Big Bend Saddlery is the real deal–Cowboys shop here for saddles, ropes, buckles, cast-iron cookware, chaps, knives, jackets, and of course, HATS. Wide or narrow rim size, rim bend up, down or flat, top of the hat flat, top of the hat round, stampede strings made of horsehair, blonde, brown, black, or leather...you name it. Locals helped me choose mine, a wide-rimmed, tight fitting palm leaf hat, that I promptly handed over to the masters, to be perfectly shaped and accessorized. The entire process is cool to watch, from initial water bath to its final appearance. It all happens right inside the workshop, where saddles and other leather gear are still made by hand. My Big Bend Saddlery hat marked the beginning of a hat collection, it seems. I just bought another beauty from the fabulous Sam Roberts LA at El Cosmico’s Trans Pecos Festival this year! >>>Warmest thanks to the awesome team at El Cosmico for another unforgettable Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love–an annual gathering of friends, music, art, camping, sandlot baseball and a night sky full of stars in Marfa, Texas. Love you guys.
103 North Nevill Street Box 1106 Showroom is Open by Appointment, Marfa, TX 79843, USA
It’s easy to miss Garza Marfa’s showroom on a brief visit, because it is located a few blocks off the beaten path. Usually open by appointment (call (432) 729-1946 or email info@garzamarfa.com), and sometimes–in typical Marfa fashion–just randomly open, it is a space that is definitely worth checking out.

Jamey and Constance are the husband and wife team behind the vibrant furniture line; pillows, blankets and home wares. Their interpretation of ‘Midcentury Modern meets Wild West’ will put a smile on your face and probably make you wish you’d taken an empty truck to Marfa with you to fill up. Their colorful pieces can be hard to find outside of Marfa, except for a limited selection at the Heath Showrooms in San Francisco and LA.

>>>Warmest thanks to the awesome team at El Cosmico for another unforgettable Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love–an annual gathering of friends, music, art, camping, sandlot baseball and a night sky full of stars in Marfa, Texas. Love you guys.
802 S Highland Ave, Marfa, TX 79843, USA
Every September, El Cosmico puts on an exuberant 3-day celebration of music, love, freedom, and everything else kick-ass West Texas. Bring your own tent, rent one of El Cosmico’s safari tents, book a yurt, or go extra glam with one of their decked out vintage trailers (those get booked early!). Trans-Pecos is relaxed, intimate, and hilarious. Being part of it makes for an unforgettable weekend in the Chihuahuan Desert, under those vast Texan skies. Last year only a little more than 1000 tickets were sold, and organizers plan to keep the event at about that size, as that’s a big part of what makes it is so special. There’s going to be a great line-up of music, off-beat workshops, vendors who’ll make you want to revisit your entire wardrobe, and, one of my favorites, the sandlot baseball game that is less about the actual game played, and more about the riotous half-time show, and of course the spectator outfits. Prices: 3 days music only: $200 3 days music + camping: $250 - tickets are per camper, not per tent 1 day music only: $75 - available only at the gate day-of-show
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