This past weekend, I went to one of the coolest Arizona music events I’ve ever experienced: the Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee, Arizona.
I had never been to Bisbee, which is a little more than three hours away from Phoenix. The artsy town has a population of around 6,000 people, with an Old Bisbee historic center featuring art galleries galore, independent restaurants, and historic ghost-filled hotels. I stayed at the Copper Queen Hotel, which was super-charming, and (sadly) I have no ghost encounters to report.
The Sidepony Express Music Festival featured more than 60 musical acts in more than a dozen venues, ranging from a coffeehouse, to a dive bar, to a tiny single room in one of those historic hotels. It provided an opportunity for Phoenix music lovers to check out impressive acts from the state and beyond in super-intimate settings, and the fact the festival was free should make it an annual destination to put on your calendars now.
Festival organizer Anamieke Quinn, whom you can learn more about here on Phoenix People, played in several acts, from the band she fronts, Treasurefruit, to playing in Scattered Melodies and Sara McAllister Duo, pictured below.
Check out videos from all three of those bands below:
I was really impressed with Melissa Reaves, a singer-songwriter who came all the way from North Carolina to perform. See a couple of her performances below:
WuT from Phoenix was also a lot of fun to watch.
He was soulful and had really meaningful lyrics, including a touching song dedicated to his mother. See a video of his performance below:
Here’s a clip of indie band Where Are All the Buffalo?:
And one of Paper Foxes:
And finally, an artist who brought me to tears when I heard her perform, the uber-amazing Korbe Canida.
Her songwriting is better than famous pop stars, and her voice is angelic. Check out a clip of her here:
Besides taking in all the great music, walking around Bisbee was a trip in itself. The town is the quirkiest I’ve ever experienced. Shops commemorate the ban of plastic bags in the area by adding them to the doorway:
A free store is in the middle of town, where people can drop off unwanted goods and pick up ones they need, surrounded by resident-art-covered walls like these:
Empty storefronts retain life, by keeping things like these in their windows:
People dance in the streets. A lot of the people you encounter seem a little high — or, at least, like they used to get really high at some point in their lives.
I loved the galleries in Bisbee. I purchased a print of In the Club by Howard Kline, whose bright and colorful watercolors are incredibly appealing to me. I love that he integrates his musician history into his paintings by showing off musical themes in a lot of his works.
I also loved Vixen Fine Art Metal Gallery, run by, indeed a vixen, Breanna Curry. Curry creates striking, colorful metal art, including really cute mirrors using reclaimed bottles. One of her works is pictured below, and you can learn more about her here.
I am so happy I finally checked out Bisbee and would highly recommend it for a fun get-out-of-town trip. Fine more things to do in the town here.