Kanab hosts 9th annual Balloons and Tunes Roundup

Hot air balloons fly at the 2023 Kanab Balloons and Tunes Roundup.

Through February 17, 18 and 19, Kanab hosted their ninth annual Balloons and Tunes hot air balloon festival. Onlookers and attendees watched as close to 40 balloons soared over their heads. 

Balloons were only allowed to launch based on the weather the morning of each festival day, as reported by the festival’s balloonmeister. With snow on the ground to contrast the red mountains, Friday’s flight was canceled, and a lantern launch scheduled for that night was rescheduled for Saturday. At Saturday night’s Balloon Glow, festival-goers saw the balloons lined up, illuminated and inflated on the festival grounds.

“Not many things can get college students out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, but the festival was worth every minute of lost sleep,” said SUU student Aspen English, who attended the festival. “It was so cool to see so many balloons gather in our home of southern Utah. Seeing the balloons against the backdrop of red rock was nothing short of magical.”

Although the balloons are the main event of the festival, Friday and Saturday also featured a vendor fair and live music. As they strolled through these events and stopped at vendor booths, visitors were encouraged to explore the town during their trip to the festival.

Kanab is a small town along the Arizona-Utah border about an hour and a half from Cedar City. It is known for its beautiful scenery and its use as a filming location for many early Western movies. The town is rich in history and has maintained an “Old West” aesthetic to honor both its heritage and its part in early cinema. 

Next year’s festival will be held through February 16, 17 and 18, 2024. 

For those interested in participating as a vendor or as a musical artist, signups will open closer to the date and will be posted on the festival’s webpage. For more information, visit the Kanab Balloons and Tunes Facebook page where they post updates about the event.


Story by: Lily Brunson
Photos by: Aspen English