Taos, New Mexico has a lot to offer. The high desert mountain town is recognized as the nation’s original artist colony. The rivers are ripe for fly fishing and white water rafting as well as paddle boarding and floating. The Sangre de Cristo mountains offer skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. The Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the United States and is both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And, the town itself is home to its historical Plaza located within a short walking distance to Kit Carson Park. It is this nearly 20-acre park in the heart of Taos that will be home to the She Rises Music Fest which adds to the list of reasons to visit the town. The inaugural international women’s music fest will take place on Saturday, September 2, an ideal time to enjoy a respite from the late-summer Texas heat.
Andrea Magee, the Austin-based musician who was born and raised in Northern Ireland with her third solo album due to be released this year, co-founded She Rises with music festival producer Sarah Hearne Naftis.
According to Magee, the music fest is led by women, created by women, and nurtured by women to encourage women. “She Rises is about a movement and a mission,” she explained, “it’s about uplifting and empowering women. There have been moments in my life when I’ve stood back and I’m not doing that anymore.”
Magee knew Taos would be ideally suited for She Rises. “My first experience in Taos, I felt a connection and uplifted by the air, the terrain, the people. There is an undercurrent to Taos, a truth and a genuine synergy and it was like a spiritual awakening.” Magee spoke of being honored to give her heart and spirit to the community to help feed that synergy.
Naftis, who has produced the successful Big Barn Dance for the past 20 years, also held in Kit Carson Park, is excited about the opportunity to empower women through music. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring forth a concert that not only showcases incredible female musicians but also serves as a powerful platform to lift women up. Through the harmonious fusion of music and empowerment, we aim to create an atmosphere where every woman feels seen, heard, and celebrated. This event is a testament to the undeniable talent and resilience of women in the music industry, and I am honored to play a role in amplifying their voices and inspiring the next generation of female trailblazers. Together, through the magic of music, we will soar to new heights and shatter every glass ceiling that stands in our way.”
She Rises will feature a list of international musicians who share similar perspectives on empowering women to shatter glass ceilings. Along with the Ireland-born Magee, the international lineup features three-time Grammy-nominated Allison Russell, who hails from Canada, Gina Chavez, whose album, La Que Manda, was nominated for a Latin Grammy, and The Tiarras, a three-sister Mexican-American act. PAACK is also scheduled to play. Grammy-nominated, Scottish musician, KT Tunstall, will play a Friday evening VIP-only performance. Additional acts are in the process of being added to the schedule.
Despite being a women’s music fest, Magee commented that She Rises is not exclusive, rather it is inclusive and will welcome all genders. Part of the proceeds of She Rises will go to Music Helps, the non-profit Magee co-founded with Dr. Kathryn Kotrla, a psychiatrist who works with children experiencing trauma in the Austin area. “Music unlocks areas of our brains to help heal trauma. Music Helps introduces music programs and opportunities for kids who have seen the darkest of life,” said Magee. “Music brings joy to these kids’ lives and She Rises will help support this mission.”
Gates to the festival will open at 11:30 a.m. on September 2. For additional information including how to purchase tickets and the special VIP performance, go to www.sherisesfest.com.
Cover photo courtesy She Rises Music Fest
Haven Lindsey resides in Taos, NM. She is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience writing on topics including healthcare, addiction, public policy, education, travel, food and human interest stories. She was recognized by NPR for her solo travel series exclusive to Texas Lifestyle Magazine. Haven’s second book, The Blue Dog and The White Horse Tales of Friendship, will be published by Brandylane Publishing in 2024.