Country musician Austin Van will kick off the in-person concert series Friday at Overlook Park. Courtesy photo
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
The past two years have been a roller coaster ride for the Los Alamos County Summer Concert series. The pandemic in 2020 pushed the live concerts to a virtual stage, which continued for the first part of this year’s series. However, the Governor’s public health order has lifted, allowing the series to return to its original live and in-person format beginning Friday.
After everything the series has experienced, Sancre Productions, the concert organizer, and Los Alamos County have proven the show must go on.
Country sensation, Austin Van, is kicking off the in-person concerts at 7 p.m. Friday at Overlook Park’s Spirio Field, in White Rock.
Los Alamos County Community Services Senior Management Analyst, Katherine Hudspeth said Friday’s concert as well as the July 9 show will be pared down compared to the usual summer concerts. This means there will not be food vendors, the beer garden or other services.
She explained these concerts were organized when the public health order and its restrictions on mass gatherings as well as its requirements for social distancing were still in effect.
“We made the conscious decision with all those restrictions in place that if we held the concerts at Spiro Field it would be an in-person concert and that is it,” Hudspeth said.
If the health order is lifted and restrictions continue to ease, Los Alamos should be able to celebrate in style on July 16 when Igor and the Red Elvises perform at 7 p.m. on the stage at Ashley Pond Park, she said. Food vendors, the beer garden and booths for nonprofits are planned to return, too.
Hudspeth said some of the performers in this year’s series may look familiar because they performed in last year’s virtual concerts.
“We wanted to give these artists who helped us in our virtual season to come back for an in person concert,” she said, adding that all the performers are excited to return.
“I can say pretty confidently all the bands and all the artists are excited to get back to work … quite honestly everyone is pretty excited to come out and perform on stage in front of a live audience,” Hudspeth said.
In a press release published earlier in the Los Alamos Daily Post, Sancre Productions Spokesperson Monica Griego said, “We are proud to bring a wide range of talented musicians to the Los Alamos Summer Concerts live on stage this year. The live concerts offer many musical genres spanning from country, to cumbia, to disco funk rock, to Santana tribute, and Siberian surf rock.”
Hudspeth called last year’s virtual season a learning experience.
One of the key takeaways was to move the concerts from Facebook Live to pre-recorded videos that are posted on YouTube. Hudspeth said it was decided to transition to YouTube because the internet isn’t always reliable and if the internet goes down then the concert stops. Plus, having the videos on YouTube allows people to watch the shows days later or rewatch the performances.
Still, she said, “Transitioning to live … it’s kind of nice to go back to what we already know. It is a smidge daunting because we haven’t done it in a year, and we want to make sure we cover all the details. But we have a good team …. the trickiest part is keeping an eye on COVID restrictions…”