Like other cities, Albuquerque was preparing for their upcoming live music events including Summer Fest. Since then, both the city and the state have been very cautious in their plan to re-open. Their restaurant and bar scene didn’t open back up until September, and live music hasn’t made its return yet, which forced the city to get creative, including live music for our community to enjoy from their cars at the drive through farmers markets. Additionally, the city was able to use $500,000 to put towards local artists and art related non-profits. A portion of this was used to compensate our local artists in exchange for live recordings of their music to promote on local radio stations.
Scroll below to read the full response from October, 2020 with the Albuquerque Pilot City Leader, Hakim Bellamy.
What did the overall situation look like in your city when the pandemic hit?
We were getting ready for our Summer Fest and other concerts when everything shut down in mid-March. Just like everywhere else, we had to immediately work with our government
What is the current situation in your city? What has changed?
Overall, our state and city has been very careful with our plan to reopen. In September, our restaurants and bars opened with seating in outdoor patios only, but live music has not returned fully. In the meantime, our city got extremely creative. Throughout the summer we were able give money to local musicians in return for live recordings and played them on the local radio stations. Additionally, we were able to provide a safe and distanced live music experience for our community when they were attending the drive through farmers markets where the artists would perform from the parking lot.
What did you get out of being a pilot city in the REVS initiative?
The ability to talk with other cities and see the differences in how each city is handling the issues around their own music scene. We were able to hear what has/hasn’t worked and the pros/cons of how a city can respond to economic impact of this pandemic.
Were you able to procure funding for the local venues? If so, where did the support come from?
This is what we are incredibly proud of. Our city was able to use $500,000 for our local artists and art related non-profit organizations. $300,000 came from our reserve of the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund. The fund gets its money from setting aside 1% of capital expenses from everything the city builds and is able to put several hundred thousand dollars back into the community bi-annually. The other $200,000 was additional money found in our budget.