A floating concert. [Richard Bowditch/Moab Music Festival]

The Moab Music Festival’s spring “High Water” concert series returns for its second year with five concerts held from June 9 to 17, with eight different artists. MMF’s music director, Michael Barrett, said with the variety of concerts and artists, there’s something for everyone. 

“I love so many different kinds of music,” he said. “Even if it’s really good, if I hear the same thing for 75 minutes I start to get kind of bored—it has to be compelling. I’m hoping that everyone who comes to these concerts shares that love of variety, and if they don’t, I’m hoping that by the end, they do.” 

According to Amy Weiser, the festival’s executive director, one of the Moab Music Festival’s overarching goals is to support programming throughout the year, not just through the weeks-long festival in the fall. The High Water series, with a theme of water conservation and emphasis on the local community, is an attempt to do so. The series will follow the same mission as other MMF concerts: all concerts will be outside, played by expert musicians. 

A community concert. [Richard Bowditch/Moab Music Festival]

The series kicks off on June 9 with a floating concert: participants will enjoy a reception with food and wine, then float down the Colorado River in an open-air boat to the music of violinist Aubree Oliverson, cellist Mark Votapek, and a jazz quartet, Hot House West (Nathan Royal on guitar/banjo, Kale Stiles on clarinet, James Martak on rhythm guitar, and Alex Rowe on bass). Tickets are $175. 

June 10 will feature the week’s first family-friendly (children ages five and up) concert: concert-goers will venture on a half-mile hike to a secluded canyon, where they’ll hear Hot House West play a selection of swing Disney music. Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for children. 

There will also be a benefit concert later in the day held in a private garden—tickets for this concert go toward Beacon Summer Strings Camp, a youth program. Aubree Oliverson will perform Cello Suite No. 3 in C major by J.S. Bach; Mark Votapek will play Zoltán Kodály’s duo for violin and cello, Op. 7; and Hot House West will perform a tribute to Django Reinhardt, a jazz guitarist popular in the 1930s to the 1950s. Tickets are $125. 

The community concert—an MMF staple—will occur on June 11 at Old City Park. The community concert is free and will feature all artists, giving participants a sampling of the entire series lineup. 

“We always try to do a free community concert at every one of our festivals,” Weiser said. “It’s important to us to give back to the community and introduce more people to what we do.” 

The week will end with a paid four-day musical raft trip down Desolation Canyon. Participants will have a chance to experience both the whitewater rapids of Desolation (with experienced guides) and music played by Mark Votapek, Nathan Royal, and Kale Stiles. Music will be played every day preceding dinner. Tickets for the raft trip are $2,950, which includes a flight to the boat put-in and all meals. 

“We’ve never done Desolation Canyon before through the music festival,” Weiser said. “We’re all excited about it!” 

You can purchase tickets and find more information at www.moabmusicfest.org