May 8 Online Music Fest to Benefit New Mexico

Virtual LemonAid brings together big names, locals to provide COVID-19 relief

Yeah, we're a livestream/online experience society now, friends.

At least we will be for the next little while. But while there's that part of you thinking about how you miss concerts and being places with crowds of people without fearing for your lives, there's this other thing happening wherein amazing events that might otherwise never have come together are, in fact, coming together. Look at that virtual version of Willie Nelson's Luck Reunion to see what I'm talking about.

In New Mexico, the biggest such event (so far, anyway) is about to drop at 8 pm on Friday, May 8, and it sounds like it's going to be a real treat. It's called Virtual LemonAid, it's set to stream across Facebook Live, Instagram TV, YouTube Live and other services—and it's going to benefit the All Together New Mexico Fund and the Santa Fe County CONNECT Fund. Win/win/win.

"Our concern was making something that felt special and different from other versions of this," organizer Amelia Bauer tells SFR. "It really became obvious that the strongest way to make it special would be to focus on New Mexico and what's unique about it as a place. As soon as we decided on doing that, it became very exciting."

Bauer is quick to identify Virtual LemonAid has been a major team process. As an assemblage featuring folks like Bauer—who is known for her benefit and promotions chops with the annual Noise For NOW! benefit—Creative Santa Fe and its executive director Cyndi Conn, Public Enemy bassist Brian Hardgroove and local musician/producer Luke Bern Carr of Bernlore Records, said team managed to bring together some very exciting names.

We're talkin' Buffy Sainte-Marie, Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear), John Dieterich (Deerhoof) and Ali McGraw, plus New Mexico performers like Future Scars, Prism Bitch, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Nacha Mendez and more. There will also be appearances from notable New Mexicans like Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, filmmaker Chris Eyre and others, plus elements like interviews conducted by Hardgroove and hosting duties from renowned poet Hakim Bellamy.

And though some of those names are certainly huge and exciting, it's extra cool organizers included such a focus on New Mexico acts.

"When you're just chasing the biggest names for maximum viewership, it's a different set of goals than saying let's find a way to share with the world what is so incredible about [New Mexico]," Bauer explains. "I think this program does a little bit of that."

"Given all the challenges of the situation, I feel like it's an amazing collection of music from Northern New Mexico," Carr tells SFR. "It's a really great mix of musicians and communities."

Carr's editing chops help the whole thing happen. See, Virtual LemonAid performances, while performed live, are pre-recorded and cut together for the show night. No sass, though—this sounds to be a professional outing. And anyway, pre-recorded performances simply sidestep any potential technical difficulties which, if you've been watching livestreams of late, are a very real annoyance.

Additionally, according to its press release, Virtual LemonAid will reportedly be working with New Mexico restaurants and breweries for "pre-party" specials on delivery and takeout to promote the foodservice industry at this critical juncture. There are apparently other surprises in store as well. Guess you'll just have to tune in to find out?

For up-to-date information, hit the website and, if we're being real, get ready to donate some bucks. The stream is free to watch, and sending in some money seems more than fair.

Virtual LemonAid
8 pm

Friday, May 8

Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Instagram TV

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