The Main Stage in Cottonwood

One of the great things about living in Arizona is all the great traveling destinations one can reach by car in just a short time. Ski in Flagstaff, houseboat on Lake Powell, climb the steps in Bisbee (if you know Bisbee you know), meditate at Sedona’s vortex, hunt ghosts in dozens of towns. Despite all these intriguing attractions, folks I know still travel to Vegas every single time they have a chance to get out of town. Why? Because the city comes alive at night. Sure, an adorably quaint downtown and interesting spots might fill your daytime hours, but when the sun sets a town that settles down for the night is, well, boring. You might find a spot for a late night drink with some of the locals, but that doesn’t match the excitement of a vibrant nightlife.

Cottonwood public gardening space

We have the perfect solution to this problem. Plan your road trip around a show. Spend the day doing the tourist thing and follow it with a night of ruckus good times jamming to a band you know and love (and maybe some you might not have seen yet). Now, that’s a vacation.

And, wouldn’t you know it, we just so happen to have the perfect spot already picked out for your next: getaway. Cottonwood! This town has one of the cutest historic downtowns we’ve seen in sometime. Grab a bite at Bing’s Burger Station, a gas station re-envisioned into an adorable eatery. Sample locals wines and olive oil. Cottonwood also boasts Northern Arizona’s largest bead and yarn store. I know some you DIYers just felt a little joyous flutter. Stay an extra day and head up the hill to Jerome.

Rebecca Riffel

After a full day of Cottonwood activity, we stopped in at the Crema Cafe where Matthew fed us scrumptious iced mochas and got the YabYum team all hopped up for a night of rocknroll. The best part of the day was yet to come: a show at Main Stage Theater.

Main Stage is a local listener’s dream. Intimate and immaculate, with pristine sound. The place looks posh but the atmosphere is friendly, small town, even. And, between sets, there is a little art gallery inside the Main Stage right next to the bar. As an ever-recovering smoker, I’m always tempted to meander outside to filch cigarettes from strangers. However, my love of art always overcomes my love of self-destruction and we were able to wander through the gallery checking out some awesome local art by Corey Dibrom and Autumn Zaun.

On the weekends, bands from around the state head to Main Stage, providing fans with the perfect excuse to get out of town to see a favorite act in an ideal setting. We’d been hearing a lot about the venue and definitely wanted to make a trip up north to check out the new digs. Main Stage opened only last May. We coincided the trip with some of local acts we love love love to see live: Small Leaks Sink Ships and Of the Painted Choir. Both bands have that something special (skill? quality music?) that really makes for a stellar performance every time.

Rebecca Riffel is the woman behind Main Stage. Growing up in Sedona, Rebecca knew the joy and burden of traveling to Phoenix or Tucson every time she wanted to catch a great show with friends. Main Stage gives Cottonwood a professional venue that can host national acts as well as giving Arizona performers another spot to add to their circuit.

Of the Painted Choir lights up the Main Stage

A special note for those of you in bands: play at Main Stage. Make it one of your goals. This place was designed to be a player’s paradise. Christopher Robin is both Rebecca’s creative partner at Main Stage and a musician’s musician who has worked and played stages across the nation: a true professional. He had a hand in the design of Main Stage from its early stages. Some of the equipment found at Main Stage even comes from his personal stash.

Main Stage can be as all inclusive as you like. Gunners BBQ Pit serves up food right on the property. Grab a late night bite under the stars at an outdoor table before, during, or after the show. While we talked to the folk behind the counter, some local diners started calling out their suggestions once their heard it was our first Gunners meal.

Everything good about smaller locales held true for our Cottonwood adventure. Charming and friendly, the addition of a music-filled night at Main Stage just makes the town that much more of a worthy destination for your summer travels. Check out their website for upcoming show dates and plan your next getaway!

Editors Note: If you’re looking for a room, the Little Daisy Motel is just across the street so you drinkers (not me) or bad drivers (definitely me) can walk/stumble across the street to bed at the end of your night.

Small Leaks doing their Sink Ships thing.
The Gallery in Main Stage
Art by Morbid
Fred performing with Of the Painted Choir
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