Albuquerque Summerfest

A Musical Smorgasbord

Route 66 Audience
Photo © Aileen O'Catherine

Every summer, the city of Albuquerque offers up a series of free Saturday night musical events that feature food, music, vendors, a beer garden, kids activities and fun for the entire family. For 2016, four Summerfests will take place, and each one is FREE.

Heights Summerfest

Heights Summerfest kicks off the summer season on on Saturday, June 11. The event includes an art market, children's activities, food, shopping and a microbrew garden that features local breweries. The event takes place at North Domingo Baca Park, 8301 Wyoming NE.

Featured Performers:

  • The Cali Shaw Band from 5 to 6 p.m.
  • Alex Maryol, 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.
  • The Porter Draw, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Rusted Root, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

At the Heights Summerfest, Home Depot will have hands-on activities for the kids to take part in, such as make and take helicopters, tool boxes, birdhouses and more. An artisan market will feature over 35 local vendors that will have items for sale such as handmade soaps, t-shirts, and jewelry. Clan Tynker will be on hand as well, for kids and adults to enjoy.

Route 66 Summerfest will take place Saturday, July 16. Central Avenue, the Mother Road/Route 66, will be filled with music, dance, entertainment, a car show, shopping, activities for the kids and a Cork & Tap Beer and Wine Garden. The entire event spans one mile in Nob Hill, from 2 to 10:30 p.m.

The featured performers are Booker T. Jones, the rock n' roll hall of fame inductee who has also won Grammy awards. His modern soul music blends soul, r&b and he has collaborated with Luke James, Neil Young, Anthony Hamilton and other talents. 

Nikki Hill will also perform. Hill has earned the nickname "A Southern Fireball," and generated a buzz when she hit the music scene in 2013 with her debut album, Here's Nikki Hill, in 2013. Other musicians will perform on multiple stages throughout the summerfest.

Downtown Summerfest will take place at on Saturday, August 6, when Civic Plaza will buzz with music, food, dance, arts and crafts, and more. This year, the headliner group will be the nationally known group The Wailers, who together with Bob Marley, have sold over 250 million albums. The Wailers are one of the world's premiere reggae bands. 

Westside Summerfest takes place August 20 from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. This street party takes place on Cottonwood Drive between Old Airport and Ellison Drive. There will be food trucks, an artisan market, neighborhood businesses and lots of activities for the kids. Bring folding chairs if you like, but there will be folding chairs on site. Pets must be on a leash. The featured performer this year will be national headliner Big Head Todd & The Monsters. Their most recent album, Black Beehive, features their unique blend of blues, though their music has evolved to fit their personal style over the years.

The original trio is still part of the group: Todd Mohr on guitar and vocals, Brian Nevin on drums and vocals and Rob Squire on bass and vocals, along with pedal steel guitarist Jeremy Lawton, who joined in 2004.

Summerfest has been an Albuquerque staple for years. These events are always great fun, featuring food, music, a beer garden, local merchants, and a great way to unwind on a summer Saturday. Musical acts that take the stage are both local and national. Summerfest features great dance performances as well.

What to Expect
Summerfest features family fun, arts and crafts activities, face painting and juggling for the kids, Clan Tynker, and plenty of food and drink for the adults. There are food and crafts vendors as well. There are a limited number of tables and chairs, but many people take blankets or their own lawn chairs. Food vendors provide food, or take your own. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed. Take it all in, and watch the stars come out.

See pictures of Nob Hill's Summerfest. 

More summer fun: Find out about Shakespeare on the Plaza.