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With Friday night crowds topping 3000, and over 4000 pouring in through the gate last week for Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers XXV edition of Circus Mexicus in Rocky Point, the “high spirits, positive vibrations, and good medicine” along the shores of the Sea of Cortez once again did their thing. The annual seaside music festival, now in its XXV edition, spread its vibe from JJ’s all the way to Capone’s, stopping for breakfast at Xochitl’s and wrapping up with a Sunday borracho show at Banditos….while filling just about every nook and cranny in town with good rhythms, good times, and even better amigos. Featuring over 30 performances across a slew of venues this year, somewhere between 11 to 15 bands (I lost count) and/or reinventions and collaborations among members from each, CMXXV did not disappoint in bringing people together in an overall atmosphere of fun served up with Mexican Moonshine, not to mention spectacular weather.
In a capsule, one remark that echoed across the desert landscape and out to sea throughout the weekend, was “this is quite possibly more people than ever…” This meant a larger than ever Thursday night “January Jam-esque” crowd at JJ’s, full sets by The Refreshments both Friday and Saturday from the mainstage, plus rock in all shapes and forms from Miles Nielsen, The Pistoleros, a phenomenal hair-raising performance by The Strolling Bones (“circus” Rolling Stones tribute band) and “after concert shows” at Banditos by The Black Moods and Whiskey’s Quicker (did someone say WQ went till 3 a.m.?). That’s all in addition to two full set nights of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, who once again picked up lyrics as they oozed from the stage and belted out “MEXICO” under Fireworks! Let’s give it up as well to Chris Kantor for leading a Saturday encore with The Piña Colada song (yes, THAT piña colada song), and Roger finishing off Saturday night with one of my favorite’s, “Nada”.
On Sunday, Xochitl’s upstairs patio joined the Circus for breakfast and tunes, with Kantor once again showing off his chops with “The People who Live in the Sky” – David Bowie tribute. Meanwhile at JJ’s, complementing an afternoon of rock featuring Mr. Mirainga, Whiskey’s Quicker, Nielsen & the Rusted Hearts, Southwest by Midnight, and Elvis Before Noon, the steel drum and groove of SugahBeat was an unexpectedly awesome way to enjoy the calm waters lapping the rocky shore in Cholla Bay.
As always, along with all the music, the weekend’s activities included the Saturday morning Rock ‘n Soccer tournament (this time in front of Sonoran Sea), which also provides a spot for folks to donate sports equipment to the local Youth Sports Foundation. There, Team Dirty 30 conquered by knocking out Team X with an OT goal…quite frankly, I’m still in awe that folks are out playing beach soccer early Saturday morning after the revelry of main stage performances on Friday night! Another fundraising opportunity for local charities this year was at “Shake, Raffle, and Roll”, which offered everything from massages to signed guitars, dinners to presenting The Refreshments on Saturday night – which an entire family did quite nicely, thank you. RCPM Circus Mexicus people explain, while “Shake, Raffle, and Roll” may be over, if you’d still like to help the organizations in Rocky Point that the charity event benefited, donations can be submitted on PayPal to Peacetimecharities@gmail.com.
Let’s not forget the group of Peacemakers who each year make the trek to Esperanza para los Niños Children’s Home with household goods and clothing, reporting that this year was the “best visit ever” as an assembly line of hugs sent them on their way. Back on the concert grounds, tucked into the folds of the VIP backstage area on Saturday night, the local Academía de Música also received a warm dose of Peacemaker spirit as folks bought coffee mugs and chipped in a bit more for the school’s scholarship and instrument funds. These, and so much more, are additional often-not-as-easily-perceived reasons about what it means when the RCPM Circus comes to town!
Curiously, just before RCPM took the stage on Saturday night for the last set, Puerto Peñasco Mayor Ernesto “Kiko” Munro stopped in briefly backstage to greet and thank the band. He remarked, “I wasn’t sure if I would make it out tonight, but then I saw that local restaurants and shops down on the Old Port were all filled with people that were here for the concert event. I had to come out and say thank you to the band for filling Puerto Peñasco, and thank you for the invitation.” Similarly, Event Manager Greg Ross stressed the band thanks the entire city of Puerto Peñasco.
So, what was missing from this year’s Circus Mexicus? …nada… actually that wasn’t missing either since that’s how Saturday night’s show ended… you get the idea. ¡Hasta la próxima! See you for CMXXVI in 2017!