7 June Events to Start Your Summer in Santa Fe

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From the incredible array of festivals, art markets, outdoor adventures, musical performances and more, summer in Santa Fe is our fine city’s most popular time of year.  Here in The City Different we are poised for yet another one-of-a-kind summer season full of exciting special events. Planning a visit to Santa Fe in the month of June can be an excellent way to ease in to a summer of traveling.  There is a full schedule of events to enjoy this month; however, the volume of visitors is not at its peak like it will be in July and August. So sneak in a trip to Santa Fe and put one of these June events on your itinerary.

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Eight Santa Fe Experiences to Enjoy in August

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There is so much to see and do this August in The City Different! Even with the long days, a Santa Fe summer is a season that seems to whizz by. Did you know that Santa Fe was recently named #1 in the Sense of Place category by National Geographic? The Sense of Place award recognizes excellence in enhancing sense of place and authenticity, including support for the protection of historical monuments, archaeological sites, cultural events, indigenous heritage and artistic traditions. Your visit this August will surely remind you why Santa Fe was bestowed this prestigious award.

With an abundance of events taking place, you’ll see why we love August!

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11 Reasons to Visit Santa Fe This July

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There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Santa Fe this July. We are known as “The City Different” and within one visit, you will know why. If you’ve heard or  read about our beautiful city and you are ready to visit, consider a Santa Fe summer getaway.  Here are a few festivals, music events and markets in the month of July to get your itinerary started.

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Come Celebrate Global Arts and Culture In Santa Fe This Year

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From Diego Velázquez to Frida Kahlo, from Leonardo da Vinci to Steve Jobs, from passionate flamenco to mind-blowing interactive art throughout 2017, visitors to The City Different will have the opportunity to experience a vast array of  global cultural experiences during the yearlong, citywide Santa Fe Celebrates Global Arts & Culture festival. Many Santa Fe institutions—museums, the Santa Fe Opera, the Lensic Performing Arts Center and of course our unique Santa Fe cultural markets—have all joined in this effort to showcase first-class art and culture from around the world.

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Take In The Sweet Summer Music In Santa Fe

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While music pulses through Santa Fe’s 400-year-old veins all year round, summer is the standout season to catch live music at a favorite venue, concert series, or dining spot, or to expand your musical horizons with something completely different. Summer is when laughter mingles with guitar strings in patios along Canyon Road, when drumbeats echo softly off the centuries-old buildings in the Plaza. Summer is when Santa Fe music is in full bloom.

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Why We Love August (And You Should, Too!)

There is so much to see and do this coming August in Santa Fe! With Summer of Color in full swing and a wide range of events taking place, you’ll see why we love August.

Two Markets, One Weekend  

The Santa Fe Indian Market is one of the biggest events in Santa Fe and also the largest and most prestigious intertribal fine art market in the world. You will see visitors interacting with over 1,000 of the “best of the best” Native artists and designers in this two day festival market. Check out our calendar for more events revolving around Indian Market as numerous galleries and other venues around the city host special events during the week.

One event overlapping Indian Market weekend is the Indigenous Fine Arts Market. IFAM is a celebration of native art and cultures. IFAM’s art events, music and literary programs, aim to create a greater understanding of the complexity and beauty of Native American culture and people as they exist today. IFAM is also a juried art show.

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Santa Fe: Sounds of Summer

Standing, clapping, dancing and cheering — there’s more than one way to appreciate a terrific performance. Once you’re in-the-know, you’ll have more than one historic Santa Fe spot for discovering the musical pleasures of the season. Since I’m totally Tuned Into Santa Fe, I’ve written your summer score, complete with notes on the scene.

Let’s Go Lensic

The Lensic Theater in its youth, circa 1934. (Photo Credit: Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)
The Lensic Theater in its youth, circa 1934. (Photo Credit: Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)

Santa Fe’s outpost origins meant foresight and originality were necessities. Nowhere is this more evident than the place that mixes mariachi music with 100-piece orchestras: The Lensic Center for the Performing Arts.

Built in 1930 by immigrant merchant Nathan Salmon and son-in-law E. John Greer, the Lensic quickly became a Depression-era social hub for inexpensive escape. Named through a contest requiring either a Spanish-sounding name or one incorporating the initials of Salmon’s grandchildren, the Lensic awarded Mrs. P. J. Smithwick a $25 prize for combining all six initials into a clever acronym alluding to a movie projector lens.

Performers come in all sizes at the Lensic. (Photo Credit: The Lensic Center for the Performing Arts)
Performers come in all sizes at the Lensic. (Photo Credit: The Lensic Center for the Performing Arts)

Recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of Save America’s Treasures, the Lensic hosts 200-plus events every year. Best-of-Broadway stars, local youth dance companies, professional ballet and flamenco troupes, and a host of comedians all wind their way into the wings.

The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus fills the stage at the Lensic. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus)
The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus fills the stage at the Lensic. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus)

Summer welcomes the renowned Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the New Mexico Jazz Workshop hits the boards in July. So as we say in Santa Fe, meet me at the Lensic!

Set Your Sights on the Sounds of the Santa Fe Opera

My two most perfect months of summer started for me with a back-when stint ushering in the old theater.

From humble beginnings, the mighty Santa Fe Opera company grew to world-class renown. (Photo Credit: The Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera)
From humble beginnings, the mighty Santa Fe Opera company grew to world-class renown. (Photo Credit: The Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera)

Old theater, you ask? This pioneering company began with one man’s notion of a site for singers to don new roles and enhance existing ones with ample rehearsal time in a secluded setting; the close-knit family atmosphere continues. His mission included a program to nurture young talents transitioning from academic life to professional opera. Today, founder/conductor John Crosby’s vision has become one of the world’s most unique opera venues, a place where careers begin, break-out roles are created, and premieres are the norm.

But back to the theater … Early patrons watched from open-air wooden benches on the grounds of a former guest ranch. A Time magazine article on the 1957 Madame Butterfly opening noted: “… traffic on the big four-lane Santa Fe–Taos highway was fin to fender.” Such enthusiastic support was critical 10 years later, when early morning flames engulfed the theater. Scheduled performances took place in a school gym and a national campaign to rebuild was launched. One year later a new, improved theater opened with a comeback performance of Puccini’s Butterfly.

With a new theater in 1967, the Santa Fe Opera came back to life. (Photo Credit: Eduardo Fuss, Archives Center for Southwest Research at UNM University Library)
With a new theater in 1967, the Santa Fe Opera came back to life. (Photo Credit: Eduardo Fuss, Archives Center for Southwest Research at UNM University Library)

Despite the magical outdoor setting, the new theater was still open to the elements and patrons beat a retreat during summer showers. In 1994, SFO decided the swift sell-out of rain ponchos had to end and plans were made for a full roof. The 1998 opening night unveiled the company’s third house with — you guessed it — Madame Butterfly.

Third time’s a charm and now patrons marvel at the architectural artistry as well as the artistry onstage. And there’s artistry in the time-honored tailgate tradition. White tablecloths, candles and champagne flutes delight, but a pair of chairs works perfectly with a pre-ordered Opera picnic.

All it takes to tailgate at the Santa Fe is a chair but the sky’s the limit!
All it takes to tailgate at the Santa Fe is a chair but the sky’s the limit!

For deeper understanding, I recommend the preview dinner with wine and an informative lecture over dessert. If you’re like me, indulge in an opening night dinner, an elegant experience for dressing in your evening finery.

BTW, opera attire runs the gamut from jeans to Jean Paul Gaultier, so all fashionistas are welcome to strut their stuff at any of the six new productions opening June 27 with Bizet’s Carmen. Watch the sun setting in all its glory, and no matter your fashion, food or favorite aria, I promise a night you’ll never forget!

Strike Up the Santa Fe Bandstand

My summer budget includes the aforementioned experiences, so I’m super-psyched when the goodness is gratis, thanks to the Santa Fe Bandstand. I can’t think of a better place than the leafy, historic Santa Fe Plaza to mix and mingle over music. The Bandstand brings two months of amazing almost-nightly performances, all genres and all absolutely free. Imagine that! On second thought, don’t imagine, just do it!

The Santa Fe Plaza Bandstand is where the summer action is!
The Santa Fe Plaza Bandstand is where the summer action is!

Local bands let loose for loyal fans and you’ll see me June 23 for opening night with the Mil-Tones Brass Band. The Mil-Tones are followed by Zydeco master Terence Simien, and the bontemps will definitely roulez. I’ve been practicing my cumbia and samba for the mix of dance-worthy Latin bands on tap, so I’ll be rhythmically ready when Son Como Con takes the stage.

The series is decked with dance delights and the crowd shifts happily to make space for newcomers. Feet will fly for the Agalu African drummers; I’ve tuned up with Saturday classes at the Railyard Performance Center. I’m still honing my swing-dance steps but I have the future in mind. And if you simply want to watch, traditional New Mexico folkloric dance comes alive with Baile Espanol as does flamenco via the Maria Benitez Youth Dance Troupe. You’ll find the likes of Joe King Carrasco, crowned a perennial favorite in these parts for righteous rockin’, occasionally pairing with up-and-coming Santa Fe Opera stars.

Joe King Carrasco rules the Santa Fe Plaza with a guitar, not a scepter.
Joe King Carrasco rules the Santa Fe Plaza with a guitar, not a scepter.

Rockers, blues singers, jazzmen, and bluegrass pickers, they’re all here. There’s simply something for everyone, with circus acts like Wise Fool and Clan Tynker and even some noontime concerts. No foolin’, be wise and dip into this summer treat. Grab the family and a picnic blanket, mucho fun awaits. After all, I did say almost nightly.

Get in the Santa Fe Mood for Music and More

Summer comes just once a year, and when it does, you’ll find me here. I’ll be home, home on the range in Santa Fe, taking part in all the sounds of the City Different. Let our city-full slate of live performances set the musical mood for your getaway. Santa Fe is definitely the place to find a summer seat waiting just for you!

 

Summer in Santa Fe: Love at First Sound

Think of Santa Fe and you’re likely to conjure up visuals of dramatic sunsets, evergreen mountains, and earth-toned pueblo architecture. Well let me let you in on a little secret — Santa Fe is just as pleasing on the ears as it is on the eyes. You heard it here: Santa Fe is one heckuva music town, offering locals and visitors an awesome menu of musical attractions including pristine classical choral works, rootsy blues, and everything in between. And I do mean everything.

While music pulses through Santa Fe’s 400-year-old veins all year round, summer is the standout season to catch live music at a favorite venue, concert series, or dining spot, or to expand your musical horizons with something completely different. Summer is when laughter mingles with guitar strings in patios along Canyon Road, when drumbeats echo softly off the centuries-old buildings in the Plaza. Summer is when Santa Fe music is in full bloom.

Here are my liner notes on how to experience Santa Fe’s summer music smorgasbord. Post here to tell me about yours.

400 Years Old and Still Partying All Week

Throughout the summer Santa Fe’s stately 400-year-old Plaza takes center stage, literally, for our beloved summer concert series, Santa Fe Bandstand. The series revs up June 21, with free live music 4–5 nights a week, and at noon on Mondays and Wednesdays (now that’s my idea of a “working lunch”). Night or day, Santa Fe Bandstand faithfully delivers soul-shaking sounds and laughter-inducing times. Make no mistake, this is summer at it’s feel-good best. Hips will be shaken, and arms will be waved, as audiences revel Americana, country swing, R&B, rock, New Mexican folk, indie, and world music. The night I caught one of my faves, Band of Heathens from Austin, I danced so much I could barely move in yoga class the next day, but it was so worth it.

Image: Mike Hearn playing for a packed Plaza at the Santa Fe Bandstand, photo credit Nichael Dellheim

If I’m not wearing my dancing shoes, and want to spend some time relaxing with my friends, I take in the Bandstand sounds from what locals consider the “best seats in the house”: the quaint restaurant balconies overlooking the Plaza. Perched above the lively crowd, loungers, people-watchers, and nibblers (like moi) can enjoy a light dinner while sipping a margarita, a local microbrew, or a local wine.

Put Santa Fe Bandstand on your summer must-do list, and experience downtown Santa Fe’s greatest hits of sounds, sights, and flavors. Check out the awesome lineup to plan your summer concert playlist. 

Opera Opens Up in Santa Fe

Summer in Santa Fe means opera. And that means spine-chilling performance, spectacular staging, and fun — yes, fun. Founded in 1957, The Santa Fe Opera has garnered global acclaim for its artistic excellence, and local adoration for its engaging personality. Notions of the stuffy opera house with bejeweled aristocrats need not apply.  At The Santa Fe Opera works are often set in contemporary times, and digital librettos at each seat allow you to follow along in English or Spanish. Opera novices and veterans alike will find plenty to love in a five-opera season that offers a mix of works ranging from treasured classics to avant-garde world premiers.

Image: Another fab sunset at the Santa Fe Opera- stage set, Peter Grimes.” Photo credit: Ken Howard

The Santa Fe Opera is an experience that transcends classical music. The opera’s open-sided auditorium showcases Santa Fe sunsets and occasional lightning flashes as dramatic as anything in Puccini’s catalogue. Pre-opera tailgating, every bit as eclectic as it sounds, is an event unto itself. And dining at the opera’s gourmet buffet tops bucket lists far and wide (make reservations months in advance, tables are limited). Note: fret not about finding that perfect opera outfit, anything goes here — from jeans to black tie.

Put your opera hang-ups aside, and see how lively, romantic, and entertaining it can be. For tickets and information, visit the online box office.

Thank God It’s Wednesday

Forget the midweek slump as Wednesday oh-so-smoothly gets its groove back with what many consider the quintessential Santa Fe summer music experience: Music on the Hill. Wednesdays from mid-June to late July, these free outdoor concerts, sponsored by St. John’s College, are all jazz, all the time. The series boasts a potent mix of national and local musicians, and an equally eclectic audience of diehards, newbies, hipsters, families, and unabashed jazz dolls and daddy-o’s.

Image: Music on the Hill. Credit Corrie Ph

Set on a lovely mountainside meadow, Music on the Hill invites audiences to satisfy their appetites for great jazz and great food. It’s a BYO venue, which means you can feast on your favorite local delicacies while you listen. Truth be told, Music on the Hill not only cured my jazz-phobia, it introduced me to a fabulous subculture of power-picnickers, generous foodies eager to share artisan cheese, fresh baguettes, tempting chocolate, and local wine. No worries if you’re too busy to bring your own picnic. Just grab a delightful snack or savory dinner from the on-site catering stands. For a choice spot, arrive well before the 6 pm start time. Parking is limited, so do like the locals and take the convenient shuttle, which departs from Museum Hill every 15 minutes.

The Summer Classics

Image: A packed St. Francis Auditorium photo credit: InSightFoto Inc.

One of my first encounters with Santa Fe happened in New York, when I saw a Georgia O’Keefe poster promoting one of the early seasons of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. So naturally, when I moved to Santa Fe, I had to check it out.

During this 6-week festival running mid July through late August you can luxuriate in the gorgeous sounds of some of the world’s greatest musicians. The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival presents chamber music across a spectrum that ranges from legendary composers to classical music vanguards. Evening concerts at the intimate and historic St. Francis Auditorium or the fabulous New Mexico Art Museum offer a soothing summer breeze of sound. Insider tip: catch a show then meet a friend for tapas and wine. Festival concerts begin at 5 or 6 pm with one-hour concerts Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon.

The Best Seat in Santa Fe for Can’t-Miss Performances

Image: Blues musician, Eric Bibb, onstage at the Lensic photo credit: Kate Russell

While Santa Fe’s summer music festivals roll on, locals and visitors can often enjoy a 1-night-only concert by a national touring artist or must-see performance troupe at Santa Fe’s premier concert venue, the Lensic Performing Arts Center. In a city recognized for its adobe architecture, the Lensic does more than just stand out. This Deco building, built in 1931, offers marvelous acoustics and an intimate setting that makes audience members feel like they’re at a private show, with the likes of Darius Brubeck, a solo acoustic show from Grateful Dead co-founder guitarist and vocalist Bob Weir, and folk icon Arlo Guthrie. Peruse upcoming events, and then enjoy your favorite sounds in a fabulous setting steps from the Plaza.

If Your Grass Is Blue

Image: Band Scramble event onstage at the Bluegrass & Old Time Festival photo credit: Peter Escherick

Summer music season in Santa Fe winds down the weekend before Labor Day at the annual Bluegrass & Old Time Festival. Okay, I’ll admit it: I have been known to obsess over O Brother Where Art Thou, and it only had a little to do with George Clooney. You see, I grew up listening to my granddad’s Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe records; I’ve been a big fan of bluegrass forever. The festival, held every year since 1975 at the County Fairgrounds, is the perfect place for me to revisit my roots and dance like I’m in the holler — minus the overalls.

Enjoy a variety of folk music genres here, from traditional Appalachian to Celtic, from nationally known acts to artists playing the New Mexico scene. Or dive into classes, workshops, talent contests, and more.

Tune In to Summer in Santa Fe

Music rules Santa Fe all summer, and you never have to go far to find it. Sounds from across the globe fill the air from the Plaza to the Railyard to the museum district and beyond. Come drink in Santa Fe summer goodness with vibrant performances, funky festivals, and classical delights. We’re saving a seat for you.