In January, Santa Fe/Albuquerque-based promotions nonprofit AMP Concerts announced it had received a $25,000 AMP Grant (a purely coincidental name) from the Levitt Foundation, a Los Angeles organization that seeks to unify through matching monies bestowed upon live music organizers.
At the time, AMP Concerts' Jamie Lenfestey told us that it was "a real feather in Sana Fe's cap to have won something like this." Lenfestey has long been a supporter of live music in Santa Fe, but his work in curating free shows in the Railyard over the past eight-ish years has been, let's face it, astoundingly cool.
These days, he feels more vital than ever, especially in the lead-up to this summer's series—which is, by the by, free—presented in part by Levitt AMP. "I'm so excited to see the Railyard really come to life in this way," Lenfestey says, "and become this incredible community space that I always knew it could be." And since this particular series represents some of the biggest and best shows of Lenfestey's career, we asked him what his personal don't-miss events might be. Did we mention they're free?
Saturday June 3 @ 7 pm
"Are you a Meat Puppets fan?" Lenfestey asks, making sure to remind all within earshot just how important the Arizona rock band has been to the musical zeitgeist. Hell, if Nirvana covers you, you've really gotta be something. "They're just one of those bands I've wanted to get in the Railyard for free for a very long time," Lenfestey says. "They're important." He's right. Now then, let's all go bump "Oh, Me" and say stuff like "Oh, yeah!"
Saturday June 17 @ 7 pm
"Another band I've wanted to get in the Railyard for some time, Dumpstaphunk is one of New Orleans' best funk acts," Lenfestey says. He's particularly excited about legendary band member Ivan Neville and local openers The Sticky. He says Dumpstaphunk is "just a seriously great band."
Saturday June 24 @ 7 pm
"What I love about this band is that they've got a sound that is just so ancient, but still so contemporary," Lenfestey says of the Ukrainian act that returns to Santa Fe after stunning crowds at Skylight last year. "They're just this beautiful, bizarre—maybe bizarre isn't the right word. They've got a beautiful sound."
Ian Moore Band
Saturday July 8 @ 7 pm
"Ian grew up in Santa Fe, so this was just one of those no-brainer shows," says Lenfestey of the now-Austinite singer-songwriter. Moore's work is incredibly heartfelt and will surely appeal to fans of anyone from local Bill Palmer to the likes of Bonnie "Prince" Billy himself, Will Oldham.
Saturday Aug. 5 @ 7 pm
"Originally the David Bowie tribute show was going to close out the series on the fifth, but then these guys were routing through and it was perfect," Lenfestey tells SFR. Another New Orleans act, The Iguanas' roots-rock style is essential Santa Fe listening—the perfect blend of studied musicianship and dance party.
Santa Fe Salutes David Bowie
Saturday Aug. 12 @ 7 pm
"Last year's Prince tribute was just such a joyous coming-together of so many great local musicians, and we want to recapture that energy," Lenfestey says of this tribute show. Countless locals descend upon the Railyard to perform the hits of Bowie and, if we're lucky, some of the weirder stuff, too.
Of course, this doesn't even get into the free movie nights in the park across from the Railyard plaza, which include Christopher Guest's brilliant Best in Show, which features a low-key informal dog show judged by local celebs like Honey Harris (8 pm Friday June 30), or Laika's Kubo and the Two Strings on July 29 at 8 pm, complete with a shamisen and taiko demo beforehand. "Everything is absolutely family-friendly," Lenfestey adds. Although, it isn't like you'll feel out of place if you don't have kids. In fact, you should just find some kids and convince them to go to Meat Puppets. Lord knows they'll thank you.