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Courtesy photo from the AMP Concerts FaceBook page.

AMP Concerts sustains local entertainment industry on life support

While most live concerts have been on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, AMP Concerts has been reaching out to local artists and bands to provide work and entertainment for the community.

AMP — a New Mexico-based nonprofit organization — has presented over 200 concert events every year since 2004, but operations have come to a halt due to safety concerns. Because the CDC has labeled large gatherings as “high risk,” AMP is using its money to go toward new ways of entertainment such as drive-in concerts and live streams.

Before the pandemic hit, AMP was hosting concerts at Albuquerque branch libraries funded by Friends of the Public Library, the Santa Fe Opera, parks and many more. Now AMP has officially moved toward free livestreams on Facebook and YouTube.

According to its website, AMP “is in collaboration with many other local groups to provide additional chances to experience the world, folk, acoustic and Americana music.”

AMP founder Neal Copperman has been busy locating resources since March to help fund the organization’s concerts. These resources include donations from audiences, Friends of the Public Library, the City of Albuquerque’s Cultural Service Department and many more.

“I wanted what we did to be of good quality,” Copperman said. “We wanted to bring that to the artists that we work with if we were to do livestreams.”

Ian Davis, a band member of Zoltan and the Fortune Tellers, performed with AMP on June 27. That was his first performance since March after the band had to cancel its tour due to the coronavirus.

Davis is a new neighbor in his community, and Zoltan and the Fortune Tellers were ready to wake up the neighborhood and add a little folk-punk right in their driveway.

“It was wonderful, trying to talk to my neighbors on a first-name basis,” Davis said. “I think they were thirsty to see a live performance — you get to see that immediate gratification.”

Casa Flamenca, a nonprofit organization that has performed for AMP in the past, is also making a new outdoor patio for live entertainment. Casa Flamenca strives to share the artistry and soul-driven talent of flamenco around Albuquerque.

Dancer Valeria Montes is known as La Chispa (The Spark) for showing her passion and representing the song Cante Flamenco, according to AMP’s website.

“We are basically reinventing our summer season,” Montes said. “After going through the COVID situation and trying to reinvent a whole program in a month, we are just figuring out how to survive our program in a different way, which has been a challenge of a lifetime.”

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Casa Flamenca hopes to finish all construction by mid-July and will host a grand opening of the patio. The goal is to show Albuquerque the culture of the solo art form of flamenco and help educate all kinds of people.

At the end of the day, the performing arts want to ensure they will do their best to show different cultures despite COVID-19 restrictions and put on great, high-quality performances.

Cameron Ward is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @xx_cameo_xx

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