When East Goes West

Every year around this time Austinites venture out west to attend El Cosmico’s Trans-Pecos Festival, or what some might call “The Love Festival.”

Words & Photos by Sandra Dahdah

Ticket-holders are willing to drive over six hours to Marfa to camp in the middle of nowhere. They do it all for the music, open spaces, and slow living, but it’s also about the company this festival keeps—people with good vibes, ready to have a good time and just be. Coffee and tacos are served daily by Jo’s, in addition to a myriad of great food trucks on site and some of our favorite Austin restaurateurs & foodies who cook just to entertain family and friends. 

Justine’s Brasserie crew came ready to cook fabulous food for all. Next to their trailer, they set up a big dining table underneath a beautiful chandelier. They served up a delicious meal every night as friends sat around the table playing acoustic sets and wine flowed.

It felt like a different time, but one that hasn’t existed before. It was very much modern, yet it had a romantic, western-bohemian essence.  The grounds were a collection of tee-pees, yurts, airstreams, and regular ol’ camping tents. There was fashion, though not typically the kind you’d see on the runway during Fashion Week. This was the kind that people create on their own, expressing themselves freely without dictation; it was simply festival chic.

In short, it was an escape from the hustle and bustle of our urban monotony. Suddenly there was no rush to get or be anywhere.  It was about relaxing, enjoying friends, and maybe even making a few new ones. It was about enjoying great bands such as Wilco, Fiona Apple, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Lee Ann Womack and Robert Ellis among many other extremely talented artists. For me, this festival was a true reminder that we don’t need much more than each other to be happy, and that theory was utterly tested when a bout of torrential downpour drenched festival-goers and their belongings. Instead of retreating or succumbing to dampened spirits, they gravitated towards one another to share hot coffee and shelter, and forge relationships that might not otherwise have come to pass. As for the ones that lost their makeshift dwellings, myself being one of them, we were taken in by generous, empathetic strangers with open arms.  It’s a place where I wish I could live daily and call it my happy village, but at least we have it once a year and leave with a warm feeling about ourselves and this big, crazy world we live in.  

Music festivals like Trans-Pecos have the power to inspire us, warm our hearts, and remind us of what is truly important in life.

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