Outdoor music festivals are a sure sign that summer is near, just like sunflowers in bloom or snowmen screaming in agony. Celebrate the eternal cycle with this Groupon to the Albuquerque Folk Festival, held on Saturday, June 2, at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. For $20, you get two adult general-admission tickets (up to a $40 value). Kids 11 and younger can enter the festival for free, and admission for kids aged 12–18 is $5.
Acoustic melodies fill the air as music lovers wander between three music stages and workshop areas where they can join the harmony making. Now in its 14th year, the Albuquerque Folk Festival carries on community-minded American folk traditions while drawing guests into cultures from less familiar corners of time and space. Bands range from young musicians exuberantly reviving old-time sounds to veteran Western swingers long acquainted with cowboy culture and its techniques for getting a tumbleweed to sing.
Le Chat Lunatique muddies the jazz tradition with sounds collected from Django Reinhardt, doo-wop groups, and even reggae. The quartet's wide-ranging musical erudition results in an infectiously danceable blend that's found them collecting just about every music award the local press has to offer. A duo of in-demand sidemen and producers, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum have spent a quarter-century weaving freewheeling, Grammy-nominated modern bluegrass from Lewis's warm alto and fast fiddle with Rozum's light, crisp mandolin.
Unlike most music festivals, the Albuquerque Folk Festival invites the crowd into the spotlight with a Sign-Up Stage that welcomes dance and storytelling performers in addition to singers and strummers. In workshops, attendees might pick up techniques for playing the bodhrán or banjo, swing during contra dancing, or learn a Highland Schottische during Scottish country dancing. Along with other kids' activities, tots can tickle guitar strings, thump drums, or learn how to ride an accordion in the musical petting zoo.
Albuquerque Folk Festival
In an outdoor/indoor setting filled with acoustic music and dancing, the Albuquerque Folk Festival perpetuates the American folk tradition and engages the community in international music performances. During the festival, five performance stages will showcase the talent of more than 40 musical acts including headliners Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, as well as Growling Old Men, The Mike + Ruthy Band, and Ryanhood from Tucson. Other notable performers will be The Bill Hearne Trio, Noseeums from Taos, Antonia Apodoca from Las Vegas, NM, and Maria y Yahví of Las Cruces/El Paso. New Mexican and regional performers will feature Cactus Tractor, Lone Piñon, and Bayou Seco Duo.
Festival goers who prefer to strum their own instruments can compete alongside a random group of instrumentalists at the band scramble, sign up to perform on a first-come first-serve basis at the Sign-Up Stage, or play in open jam sessions. Workshops teach techniques for playing instruments and styles such as Klezmer music, Mountain dulcimer, and mandolin, while dance lessons focus on how to move freely during contra or execute a Highland Schottische without losing your kilt in front of passing strangers. Friday night at the Museum includes a fundraising performance by Ray Wiley Hubbard.