9.2015 / Marfa / El Cosmico

Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love

The Trans-Pecos region is West Texas at its finest, and the journey there plays a large role in why Marfa and Liz Lambert’s Trans-Pecos Festival is so special.  For us, the journey started in Austin… 5 girls in a pickup truck, headed west, 420 miles.

The sun is bright and the hills roll with green trees. As they slowly start to fade, the road flattens, and the sky opens to swirling with shades of pink, orange and purple… now we’re entering the badlands of West Texas.

El Cosmico

We drive into Marfa, make a left at the town’s one traffic light and enter El Cosmico, our host for the weekend’s festivities.  As expected, Liz Lambert and her Bunkhouse team has set the scene perfectly on this 18-acre campground.  A band is playing in the background as we carry our bags and coolers to our rented teepees, furnished with a tobacco leather butterfly chair, modern electric lanterns, a Moroccan pouf and of course it wouldn’t be ‘glamping’ without a real mattress and colorful linens.  We wander out and take in the scene…

Jenny Lewis is radiating on stage in a satin tuxedo, playing her rainbow guitar. Annie Clarke pops on stage for a few songs. And an abundance of Shiner and Topo Chico – you can feel the love.


There’s a chill in the air, and a peaceful freshness in morning sun as I pull on my cowboy boots and walk toward Jo’s Coffee, a military-style tent providing ammunition for the day ahead.  The line is 20 people deep; anywhere else this would not fly, but time moves at a different speed at Camp Cosmico. Everyone is smiling, reminiscing about the previous night, the journey, who they met, late night dips in the hot tub.  Dogs are running around,  kids playing on bikes, a group of yogis practicing in in the distance.


Sabine & Emily, An austin based artist and her best friend from Rhode Island, lead a papier-mâché class using found leaves and branches from an earlier nature hike.  Inspired by the mysterious terrain surrounding us, I create Samantha, a Jackalope, who hung on our tee-pee and watched over us for the rest of the weekend – ensuring a few giggles every time we returned to our weekend home.

Happy Hour

It’s that sleepy time of day when I’m ready for an espresso, but here in the desert I opt for ‘Ranch Water’ (Topo Chico, lime and tequila). We read, relax in a hammock and enjoy conversation with neighbors. I ran into an old friend Alec, a former New Yorker, now a fixture in this small town.  He’s chatting with a friend, who like others is here for some work and some fun.  The energy that radiates from Liz’s team, sets the stage for the magic.  After a few minutes of chatting, Alec gets a text, a shipment of vegetables arrived at the The Get-Go (Marfa’s grocery store) and he’s off to unload the truck.


As the sun begins to set, it’s all about the music.  Saturday’s highlight was Mexican Institute of Sound, an electronic band that had us dancing well into the night.

Saturday, 12pm: The Sandlot

Everyone heads to the park for the annual sandlot baseball game: Marfa’s Los Yonke Gallows vs. Austin’s Texas Playboys.  The game is commentated by KRTS Marfa Public Radio hosts, who entertain the crowd by roasting the crowd and the players between the play-by-play commentary.  To complete this American pastime experience, the game is sponsored by Shiner. The half time shows make it clear that this Sandlot rivalry runs deep.

To complete this American pastime experience, the game is sponsored by Shiner.

The half time shows make it clear that this Sandlot rivalry runs deep.


On the way back to camp, it’s time for a caffeine boost at Tumbleweed – the local laundromat, ice cream parlor and coffee shop. Smells of fresh linen and espresso.  I opt for a double espresso poured over vanilla bean ice-cream, divine.


The last night of music and Phosphorescent is the highlight. But this night is different – it’s bittersweet.  Different roads lead each of us to the Trans-Pecos Festival, but we’re all seeking the same balance and freedom from reality. Here we came together and found our own ‘family’ for the weekend.  We left our phones behind and experienced each moment for what it was, not through a camera lens or social media.  It’s about laughing a little more and appreciating the simple things in this American dream.  The next morning we rise early and drive east holding onto  this peaceful state of mind.  Soon enough, we’re back to our everyday lives, and though these memories we made, I appreciate life a little more, and every moment is a little sweeter.

Photo credit Sandra Dahdah.

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