There is such a thing as a magical taco and it’s found deep within the heart of Colorado’s music festival scene. And after having experienced said taco for myself, I needed to know the secrets of this fantastic festival food. So I sat down with Bradford McDevitt, the creator of McDevitt Taco Supply (Super Heady Tacos), and Jesse Torrey, a chef of the taco goods and veteran in the festival taco slingin’ business. Check it out:
How did this whole taco adventure begin?
Bradford: Five and a half years ago, I applied for a permit to cook and sell tacos on Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, CO. My application made the top three that year, and was entered into the final cook off. I got one of the two available spots, and since then, it’s been a natural progression into music festivals.
How did you come up with the name 'Super Heady Tacos'?
Bradford: It’s a 13th century term meaning intoxicating or overwhelming. In the late 90s, the term was adapted to the marijuana culture; we have adapted it to taco culture.
What was your first music festival experience with the taco truck?
Bradford: Four years ago, in 2012 we went to Country Thunder. We don’t do that festival anymore. People who love country music are the worst humans on earth, in terms of how they treat vendors.
Jesse: Desert Rocks was my first festival with the Super Heady Taco crew.
How many music festivals did you do this year?
Bradford: This summer we did 10 festivals. Arise, Beanstalk, Divide, New West Fest, Riot Fest, Sonic Bloom, Summer Camp, and Vertex, to name a few. In 2013 we did 20 music festivals. We hit the scene really hard, literally going from East Coast to West Coast. We did the big ones too, like Bonnaroo and Coachella.
Jesse: Yeah- it was 20 festivals in seven months. That's like 25,000 miles of traveling and slingin’ tacos. Basically, [we traveled] the circumference of the world within the continental U.S.
Bradford: Yeah after that we decided to mostly stay in Colorado. This state offers so many amazing festival opportunities. Plus, it's just more cost effective.
What are the best and worst parts of working a music festival?
Bradford: Interacting with new people all the time who constantly praise our food, atmosphere, energy levels and staff is one of the best parts. Everyone we deal with is on vacation, so everyone is in a great mood.
Jesse: You absorb people’s elevated energy levels at festivals. My lows are in between [gigs], waiting for the next music festival.
What is the craziest music festival story you have for me?
Jesse: It happened this year at Summer Camp. Monday morning I woke up for loadout. Loadout days are hard; you are exhausted and everything is dirty and chaotic. Like, you literally just served 10,000 tacos out of a mobile kitchen. So that morning, I was riding a razors edge from maintaining my sanity. I started loading out, and there was literally a six foot long snake under our garbage can in the kitchen. I’m from Boston. I don’t know what poisonous snakes look like. All I knew was that this snake was huge and, like, coming after me. For an hour I tried to kill this thing with a 10-inch prep knife and a sledge hammer. It was like a battle royal. So I’m in this frenzy, a total manic moment: I can’t let this snake go ‘cause I’m thinkin’ he's gonna hide under something and I’m gonna pick that something up to put it away, and he is gonna get me! In my mind, after 80 hours of slinging tacos, I decided it was me or this snake. I love animals, but it was on. I finally whacked it. I cut its head off to bury it because I thought it was venomous. But before I buried the snake, I put it in a container and asked guests if they wanted snake breakfast tacos...
Long story short, that's the difference between working in a kitchen versus a music festival mobile kitchen. You have to be able to wrestle a six foot long snake to be a festival taco slinger.
What’s the coolest thing about being a part of the Super Heady Taco team?
Jesse: There have been hundreds of taco slingers that have worked festivals with us from coast to coast. People have gotten married as a result of slinging our tacos. We don't just sling tacos, we provide people with a good time.
Bradford: You become a music festival name. Super Heady Tacos has become known as the secret third stage. We thrown on tunes, light up our disco ball, and get down. One guy came up to us at Divide Music Festival and said, “Dude you just put on a better show than Cake!”
So the next time you're at a Colorado music festival, have your taco cake and eat it too! Find this secret third stage, because I guarantee you will find delicious tacos, laughs, and a good time. And if you’re festivaled out for the season, don’t fret! Keep an eye out for a Super Heady Tacos restaurant location coming to Boulder early next year in the Meadows on the Parkway area on Baseline and Foothills. Peep Super Heady Taco's menu here.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.