Marfa Lights Festival, Trans-Pecos Festival and Chinati Weekend all return this fall

MARFA – Three of Marfa’s biggest events will return this fall after taking a year off during the coronavirus pandemic. The Marfa Lights Festival is set to return September 3 through 5, and just weeks later the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love returns September 22 through 26 at El Cosmico. In early October, Chinati Weekend will return in-person from October 8 through 10 after its 2020 virtual gathering.

The 34th annual Marfa Lights Festival was canceled last year along with most public events in town, but for its 35th year, Marfa’s Chamber of Commerce is planning to bring the festival back in full force over Labor Day Weekend. The Friday through Sunday event will have vendors, live music and “the usual stuff that we have every year,” said Consuelo Chavez, the chamber’s treasurer, all centered around the Presidio County Courthouse.

A few chamber members have resigned their posts over the past year, but the group is planning to iron out festival details at their next official meeting. Chavez said that while they are running behind, information about tickets and performances will be announced as soon as possible.

September will also welcome the return of the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love for its 15th year, which will look a little different than previous iterations of the festival. Ticket holders will get four days of music instead of the usual three, and capacity will be reduced by 50%, allowing visitors to spread out and enjoy even more music than before. While ticket prices have gone up for those who make the trip to West Texas, tri-county locals can still get a pass for the event for $150 by stopping by the front desk of El Cosmico and showing proof of residency.

Tickets went live last Tuesday, and without a lineup announcement people were still buying. Monika Bernstein, the general manager of El Cosmico, thought ticket sales were good so far because after such a trying year, people need something to travel for and look forward to.

“It just feels so good to be able to gather, and of course I think it’s also important to note that we’re following whatever the CDC recommends, so if for some reason something changes, we’ll definitely enforce that as well,” Bernstein explained.

Music, vendors, programmed workshops and more will take place, and this year, Bernstein teased, “We’re going to have a speakeasy,” legally of course, which promises hard alcohol at the festival for the first time since the property upgraded its alcoholic beverage license.

Though the lineup isn’t out, “There will definitely be some returning artists and some new ones,” Bernstein said. The lineup will likely be announced in mid-June, with more names dropped as the festival gets closer.

Rounding out the events this fall is the return to an in-person Chinati Weekend from October 8 through 10. Ticketed attendees will be able to join in on brunches, cocktails and tours through the restoration of the Chamberlain Building, with tickets available in July. Locals and visitors will finally be able to come together again for the Open House Dinner at the Arena on Sunday, Oct. 9, an event that will be free to all and offer ranch fare with mariachi and tequila.

Bernstein reflected, “It seems like right now in Marfa, everything is back to normal.”