Roger Clyne's Circus Mexicus Promises Beer, Music, and an Escape From the Heat

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It's time to grab your passport and head down to Mexico to kick off your summer.

Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers are continuing the annual tradition of Circus Mexicus in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. The group is coming off a small U.S. tour and will head south of the Arizona border for the festival from June 5-8.

With the successful release of The Independent this past April, debuting at No. 7 on the iTunes Rock Chart, Circus Mexicus couldn't come at a better time.

Circus Mexicus started after Clyne's band The Refreshments broke up and The Peacemakers formed. Clyne said he was never able to get the right people behind it, which resulted in him getting the festival started independently.

"I just went down in a van and started knocking on cantina doors," Clyne tells New Times. "I found a sympathetic cantina owner who said, 'I don't have a stage, but I'll run extension chords up to the roof.' So we picked a date and I put out an announcement on the emerging Internet to our fan base. We went down there in the van, set up on the roof, and the soundcheck turned into the actual set.That was our first Circus Mexicus, and I believe it was in 1999."

Since its inception, the festival's attendance has gone from 175 people to around 4,000, with attendees from 32 states and seven countries. Formerly a bi-annual event, Clyne found that the turnout in spring was greater than in the fall, leading the fall cycle to be shelved for a short time.

Clyne describes the event as a gathering of family.

"People get to relax, you don't have to really worry about a schedule. There's bands playing all the time everywhere down there. I think it's just become a lot of fun. It's a place where the United States and Mexico come together and they basically open their arms to all of us and do everything they can to make sure that we all are safe and have a good time. It's become one big, happy family."

Clyne says the artist lineup is started well in advance. Typically, booking begins one or two weeks after the festival ends, giving Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers some time to wind down from their party. Fans can also expect Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers' set to incorporate some of the new material from The Independent. On the road, Clyne says that the band has been playing between five and eight songs from the new album with great results from fans.

"It's been outstanding. This may be optimistic, but I think I notice more people knowing more words to the new songs earlier. Typically in an album cycle, I find it takes one or two laps across the U.S. for people to sing the songs back."

If you go to Circus Mexicus, you may wind up with a pretty cool story about the show. Like the one year where Clyne, the band, and the fans all rode out a storm together. This is what Clyne says really catalyzed Circus Mexicus as an event.

"The storm snuck up behind us. I remember looking at the crowd's face and they were more looking above the trellises than at the band, in sort of awe and a little bit of fear. So, when I turned back around to see what they were looking at, there were thunderclouds coming with big spikes of lightning. In a few minutes we were just getting soaked and we just stood our ground."

Clyne says he was really worried being around electricity and water, but continued to play for the fans.

"Nobody left. The crowd got a little bit more compact to stay warm, but that was it," Clyne says. "And that became this way that everybody knew that this was the real deal, and we're there to play on."

Visit the next page for this year's Circus Mexicus lineup.

Thursday, June 5 - The Kick Off Party at JJ's Cantina 7:30 p.m.: Random Karma 9 p.m.: Ghetto Cowgirl 10 p.m.: Hickman-Dalton Gang

Friday, June 6, at The Main Stage (across from Banditos, formerly The Hut and Chango's) 7 p.m.: Shurman 8 p.m.: Sand Rubies 9:30 p.m.: Cracker

Saturday, June 7, at The Main Stage (across from Banditos, formerly The Hut and Chango's) 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Eat & Greet with RCPM and guests at Banditos (formerly The Hut and Chango's) 7 p.m.: The Black Moods 8 p.m.: Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers (with The Jons)

Sunday, June 8, at JJ's Cantina 11 a.m.: Ghetto Cowgirl Noon: Sand Rubies 1 p.m.: Shurman 2 p.m.: The Black Moods 3 p.m.: Shawn Johnson 4 p.m.: Elvis Before Noon 5 p.m.: Random Karma

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