Albuquerque’s city-run summer concert, gathering schedule remains unclear

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico is likely just weeks away from getting rid of the capacity limits that have kept most events and concerts from happening over the past year. While the City of Albuquerque says it is pushing for the return of many summer events, so far city leaders are hinting that people shouldn’t expect anything big.

At a recent news conference, Mayor Tim Keller addressed the potential for large city events like the classic ‘Summerfest’ to take place this year. While the mayor says he wants to see more events, the city’s traditional summer music gatherings along with the big ‘Freedom Fourth’ and Summerfest shows may not be in the cards this summer, once again.

“As part of returning to normal, I’m pushing to have lots of events this summer,” Keller said. “I think they’re all going to be a little bit different, but the good news is we’re going to have them.”

On the topic of “huge, large concerts,” Keller said the city won’t be having those kinds of events, mainly because of the lead time for booking musical acts. “That has to do with their touring schedules and promoters and things like that,” Keller said.

City event planners usually book higher-profile music acts as early as six to eight months ahead of the big draws like ‘Zoo Music,’ Summerfest, or other events. So far in 2021, the city hasn’t announced any upcoming summer concerts or festivals.

Albuquerque city event coordinators are still waiting on the governor to announce a firm date for when the state will ditch the color-coded county system. While some venues have hosted hundreds, even thousands of people in various settings over the last few weeks, mass gatherings in places like parks and streets are different. The city is still limited to just 150 people gathering in the same space under New Mexico’s Turquoise COVID-reopening rules.

Until that mass gathering limit changes, it’s unlikely the city will extensively pre-plan any summer gatherings. Old Town or Zoo Music shows typically draw hundreds of people, while a Summerfest can draw as many as 10,000 people. The mayor has hinted toward city events being of a smaller variety this summer.

“We are going to provide I think at least half a dozen (events,)” said Keller at a May 25 news conference. “Whether it’s food truck rodeos or gatherings in parks with fun things for the kids and so forth, so stay tuned and we’ll be announcing those in June.”

For the city’s traditional Freedom Fourth July 4 celebration this year, the city is still undecided on the idea of having a gathering at Balloon Fiesta Park as they’ve done in the past. The tentative plan is so far like last year’s which saw multiple firework shows in different parts of the city. The city says it’s hoping to allow people to gather in parks for those cross-city firework displays this year, instead of watching from their cars in 2020.

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