Music has found a way to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation. AMP Concerts is composing virtual, neighborhood and drive-in concerts for New Mexicans around the state.
AMP Concerts have recently started offering in-person events, with locations like neighborhood driveways. People on the street can watch from their porch or sidewalk while still social distancing.
“We saw ‘Zoltan and the Fortune Tellers’ right across the street from our home. It was an amazing experience to see a show right across from my house,” Therese Dooner, a northeast Albuquerque resident, said “We sat on the porch and ate dinner while cheering on the band. It was such a nice surprise during this time.”
Neal Copperman founded the AMP concert series when he moved to Albuquerque with his roommate in 2007, and they have led the non-profit organization ever since.
“The concerts we’ve done are all available to watch on our YouTube channel,” Copperman said. “The neighborhood concerts were my favorite thing to do, because it was the only way to put people in front of musicians so they could sing to an audience.”
AMP Concerts has been continuously updating events and policies throughout the pandemic to support local musicians.
“It was such a nice night to be able to sit and watch the show from my porch,” Dooner said. “These are the kinds of things that really make people happy during the pandemic — one of the few safe things we can all enjoy.”
Copperman has spent years putting on house shows, small town concerts and volunteering with local music organizations in New Mexico.
“It’s so special for people to have the opportunity to experience (the music) ... It’s something we’re all craving right now. I think it’s really a gift to the neighborhood,” Copperman said.
AMP is also launching drive-in concerts beginning on Aug. 14. Each space is large enough to safely maintain social distancing and offers participants a personal tailgate and picnic zone beside a parked vehicle. Face masks are required at these events, in line with state public health orders.
“This is a drive-in series that we just launched, and we’re going to be doing it at least through August,” Copperman said. “As of right now, it’s three weekends — Friday and Saturday night concerts — and these are real concerts. We’re expecting about 500 people to come.”
Tickets range from $44 to $110 and can be purchased online or over the phone.
“It’s great that we can do drive-in concerts with tailgating. We’re at Hipico, which is a horse field where they do competitions, south of Santa Fe near the airport,” Copperman said. “And it’s a huge grass field — you buy a ticket for your car, there’s a tent next to your car, you get out and set up a table and you can be in your spot. There’s about sixteen feet, and then there’s another car.”
Food vendors will be available for contactless ordering, but attendees may also bring their own food. Alcohol is prohibited.
“People are outside, and they’re distant — that’s why it’s okay. We can set up with 250 cars and those will be screened as well, so if you don’t feel comfortable to go you can watch the streams and still enjoy the concert from home,” Copperman said.
Lauren McDonald is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @old_mcdonald25