I’ve never been one to say “no” to a spontaneous road trip, especially when the journey’s end is a music festival in a haunted desert town. On Saturday morning, me and a few of my closest friends decided to ditch the city, load the car, and head south to a small bohemian border town called Bisbee. To my surprise the old mining town of Bisbee was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco in the early 1900s, making it the ultimate ghost town of the West.
The further south we went the windier the roads became. Motorcycles, chili pepper farms, lush cactus filled landscape, and the sight of vintage historic southwest buildings appeared in my rearview mirror. We couldn’t help but take our time exploring the tiny highway we were on; finding ourselves lost in golden cornfields and taking part in play gunfights in iconic Tombstone, Arizona. All photography by Cole Kiburz, owner of Kachina Creative Studios.
Entering the town of Bisbee requires you to pass through a tunnel carved through the center of a mountain; to me it felt more like passing through a surreal time warp. Antique architecture and vibrant street art appeared on the other side accompanied by crisp air and a bewitching landscape. My free spirit started glowing with anticipation.
We were now to our destination, Hotel La More, a boutique hotel in downtown Bisbee. Immediately I was ready to explore. We wandered the streets in search for live music and tasty cocktails. Luckily, seemingly every bar in town was within walking distance and had a band playing (over 70 bands were in town for the festival!) The first spot we stumbled upon was Santiago’s – its salsa had evidently been voted best in the state of Arizona and made it ridiculously easy to sip down our mango margaritas from their heavily stocked tequila bar. A few drinks in we decided to adventure more, finding ourselves with shopping bags full of vintage treasures.
The night was filled with more drinks, insanely talented musicians, packed dance floors, and the feeling of being totally free. We ended the evening (which was now morning) in the lobby of Hotel La More, passing the guitar around among new friends and laughing until we finally made our way back to our room. The natural sunlight shining through our sheer curtains woke us up bright and early, and the smell of espresso and feeling of fresh air coaxed us out of bed.
Our last hours in Bisbee were spent soaking up more live music and the colorful streets of this artsy town. My friend Dillon and I made a promise the night before that we were going to get spontaneous matching crescent moon tattoos. Conveniently a badass tattoo shop (Pans Head Tattoo) was located directly across from our hotel. Now I will always remember my trip to this dreamy ghost town, and cannot wait to return.