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Plaza music series to return this summer

The music series on the Plaza will continue in 2021 with a new producer, AMP Concerts. (Michael Dellheim/Outside In Productions)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

After a year of being silenced due to the pandemic, the summer music series on the Plaza will be back in 2021.

At the helm will be AMP Concerts.

The Albuquerque/Santa Fe nonprofit will carry the torch for the free outdoor concerts through 2024. It is taking over from Outside In Productions, which made it a successful series.

AMP Concerts is the mastermind behind the Railyard Concert Series – which also takes place during the summer – as well as concerts in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

“The honest truth is that we never had any interest in doing these series,” says Jamie Lenfestey, AMP’s director of Santa Fe operations. “These were started by Outside In and it was always their baby to run with. They have done an excellent job with both. When (Outside In executive director) Michael Dellheim told me repeatedly that he thought his contract was over in 2019, we began to talk about taking it over.”

Lenfestey says the city of Santa Fe began talking to AMP to help return music to the Plaza in 2021.

“Given the chaos in the music world, we’re in a good position to take on the project and grow the bandstand,” he says. “We’re also going to work with Music on the Hill so that we are creating a non-competitive series of concerts that work together.”

Prior to the pandemic, the bandstand series would put on nearly 80 events during the summer.

This summer, the number will be significantly lower due to the state’s public health order.

“We are keeping an eye on what changes and that will help us plan for the summer series,” Lenfestey says.

AMP is known for bringing in all types of touring musicians, but the Plaza series will focus on local musicians. The nonprofit will also have to raise funds privately for the series. It also gets money from the city’s lodger’s tax.

“Normally, the plaza music series would start in July and we’re not bringing in bands that create such a high demand,” he says. “We may try something out in June to get a feel of how we will safely put on an event. It’s difficult because these are free shows and will need to require some sort of ticket to create room for a crowd with enough spacing. We are working on ways to make it completely safe for everyone.”

As the city of Santa Fe selected a new vendor to produce the shows, Dellheim says Outside In Productions will step aside to make room for the next iteration of live music from the heart of Santa Fe.

“We wish the new producers every success in their new endeavor,” Dellheim says. “Most of all, we wanted to say THANK YOU to all the musicians, dancers, sponsors and Bandstand fans for your steady and passionate support over the past 18 years. You gave our work meaning and we are forever grateful.”

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