Kanab's Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival
Over the course of the festival’s two days, the stages, streets, and venues in Kanab will be filled with round-the-clock Western-themed entertainment — think: music, cowboys and history.
Dozens of Texas Longhorns moo, bellow and clomp, rounded up and driven by cowboys on horseback. But this isn't the dusty open range. It's the asphalt of Kanab's main drag, U.S. Highway 89. And this High Noon Parade is just getting started.
The Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival in Kanab, Utah, is a must-attend event for anyone, at any age and ability, who has a love for anything Western — music, cowboys, history. Held each summer, the festival is a two-day celebration of music, dance, food, industry, and life in the Old West. People gather from all around to be in attendance the third Friday and Saturday of August. Visitors travel not only to be at the center of a Western lifestyle, but also to be a part of it.
"Gunsmoke" Made Here
Over the course of the festival’s two days, the stages, streets, and venues in Kanab will be filled with round-the-clock entertainment. You can attend one of the numerous outdoor performances, take a wagon ride, or explore classic western filming locations (it’s a fantastic opportunity to see where classics such as “The Outlaw Josie Wales” and “Gunsmoke" were made). Take a self-guided tour to one of Southern Utah’s truly great drives, the Johnson Canyon Road, which stretches north from U.S. 89 and provides excellent vantage points of the colorful cliffs for which the Grand Staircase region is known. Johnson Canyon Road is most notable among film buffs for the old Gunsmoke film set, but the Grand Staircase is a Western Legend in its own right. The aptly named region marches northward from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the 9,000-foot edge of southern Utah’s High Plateaus in a colorful succession of “risers” in the staircase including the Kanab area's Vermilion Cliffs.
It's a rugged, wild setting — and many adventures require advance preparation, a guide or backcountry navigation skills. (It's no wonder this place has drawn Hollywood productions for more than 90 years.) Don't worry though, visitor centers in Kanab and Big Water can help match the right adventure to your interest and ability.
Don’t miss the action-packed Western Legends rodeo Friday night. World-famous bull and bronc riders compete for the cash and buckle that comes with winning the title of Champion. Watch the speed and agility of the ropers and barrel racers with their athlete horse companions. See tough and true cowboys continue in their western heritage with the aforementioned categories as well as Jr Bulls, Peewee Steers and Mutton Busting. Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival rodeo takes place at the beautiful Kaneplex Arena overlooking Jackson Flat Reservoir and the glowing red cliffs of Kanab.
Back in town, you won’t want to miss the action at the Mountain Man Display, County Battle USA or the chance to attend breakfast or dinner with the stars. The street fair runs daily, and has crafts and vendors of all sorts. In addition to the Mountain Man Display, look for other trades offering a true look back in time. There are also panel discussions and autograph signings with Hollywood stars. Past celebrity guests have included Don Shanks, Barry Corbin, Alex Cord, Rudy Ramos, Kath Garver, Bruce Boxleitner, Roberta Shore, and the late Dan Haggarty, to name a few.
If you like listening to sweet country tunes, you won’t want to miss the two-day battle of the bands known as Country Battle USA. You will enjoy some of the best up-and-coming country bands in the country competing for $10,000 in prize money — winner takes all! Each band will perform once on Friday and again on Saturday. The winner will then perform Saturday evening at the crowd-favorite street dance on North Main Street.
This is guaranteed to be a whopping good time whether you're visiting specifically for the festival or stopping by on one of the area's many outdoor adventures. In addition to all the activities above, past festival experiences that may be available any given year include Cowboy Church, quilt shows, Dr. Buck family radio show, breakfast with the stars, parades, tractor pulls, working displays of antique equipment, cowboy poetry, wild west gunfights and stunt shows, wagon ride recreations, street dances and more.
Attending Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival
There is something for everyone at this festival. Whether you attend as a bystander or jump in to be part of the jubilee, the annual Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival in Kanab is not to be missed. See you in August, partner.
Read: 15 Must-do Adventures in Kanab then start planning your trip with this Base Camp Kanab inspirational itinerary.
The street fair, parade, Mountain Man Display and celebrity autograph sessions are free. Ticket prices for other events vary. See the official Western Legends Heritage and Music Festival page for ticket prices. GPS Coordinates.