In Baja California, just 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas’s raucous glitz, sits Todos Santos, a sleepy surfing and art haven slowly gaining the attention of boldface names seeking authentic Mexican culture. Among those who have fallen in love with the town is R.E.M guitarist Peter Buck, who liked the old colonial hamlet so much, he bought a house there and founded the Todos Santos Music Festival in 2012 with his fiancée, Chloe Johnson.
The festival, which draws both locals and expats alike and takes place at the historic Hotel California, will be held during three weekends in January and features artists like the Posies, Alejandro Escovedo, Chuck Prophet and Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3, as well as two bands from Mexico City, Twin Tones and Torreblanca. “It is an amazing opportunity to introduce tourists to some very cool Mexican music, but also a great opportunity for people from Baja to see indie music from the mainland of Mexico,” Johnson says. “It is fairly rare for those kinds of bands to tour in Baja.”
Best of all, a trip to this musical paradise is for a good cause. All proceeds are donated to the Palapa Society, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programs and scholarships to local children. Last year the festival raised $50,000—enough money for the program to double its enrollment. January 10–12, 17–20 and 24–26; todossantosmusicfestival.com.
Where to stay: Rancho Pescadero, a nearby boutique hotel and festival sponsor, is hosting a private acoustic show and dinner with Ken Stringfellow of the Posies on January 16, as well as offering hotel guests VIP access to the festival at large. Rooms start at $185; Camino a la Playa, Pescadero; 910-300-8891; ranchopescadero.com.