Santa Fe’s Blockbuster Summer Events | - July 31, 2011

"Here's a list of the top summer events scheduled in Santa Fe."

Santa Fe is one rocking place in the summer, with exciting events taking place all over town just about every day and night. From outdoor concerts to art markets, festivals, fairs and flamenco performances, the city hosts a dizzying array of summer events that celebrate the city's rich heritage along with its acclaimed art, wealth of music and fascinating history.

Here's a list of the top summer events scheduled in Santa Fe. For a more extensive listing, check the calendar.

Santa Fe Bandstand on the Plaza: Now through August 18

The crowds turn out for this awesome free concert series featuring 78 performances by local, regional and national musicians on the Santa Fe Plaza Community Stage. This year, the ninth annual Bandstand includes blues, rock, jazz, folk, bluegrass, country, world beat music and more, with performances by The Iguanas, Cracker, Mose Allison, Eliza Gilkyson, Joe West, Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess and other great groups. Concerts take place Monday through Thursday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and Monday and Wednesday afternoons from noon to 1:30 p.m. C'mon down and be sure to bring your dancin' shoes!

SOFA West at the Santa Fe Convention Center: August 4-7

Produced by the Chicago-based The Art Fairs Company, this premier International Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair celebrates contemporary arts and design, bringing collectors and fans together with gallerists and artists for four days of art events, including a lecture series, exhibits and a gala reception. This year, the event also includes an Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art.

Santa Fe Indian Market on the Plaza: August 20-21

This is Santa Fe's biggest summer event, drawing thousands of visitors from around the globe who mingle with hundreds of Native artists showcasing their jewelry, pottery, weaving, painting and other traditional Native American art forms. The Plaza is packed for this weekend, full of live music and dance performances, a Native clothing contest, food vendors and more. Many galleries host special openings for native artists, too. There's also a Native film festival, a spoken word performance, a concert by Robert Mirabal, literary readings, a gala dinner and auction and more. If you're a fan of Native art, this is one event you won't want to miss!

Santa Fe Opera: Now through August 27

One of the world's leading cultural festivals, the Santa Fe Opera presents its 2011 season at the famed opera grounds, where guests gather to tailgate before the performance in the parking lot against a backdrop of dramatic mountains and gorgeous sunsets. This year's schedule includes Gounod's Romantic-era masterpiece, Faust, Puccini's La Bohème, Alban Berg's Wozzeck, Vivaldi's Griselda and Gian Carlo Menotti's The Last Savage.

Juan Siddi Flamenco at The Lodge at Santa Fe: Now through August 14

The dancers, singers and musicians with this formidable troupe are some of flamenco's most talented performers. You get to watch them in the intimate Maria Benitez Cabaret at The Lodge at Santa Fe, a romantic venue that is perfect for a passionate flamenco evening. Juan Siddi, an acclaimed flamenco performer, is the group's artistic director and choreographer.

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival at various venues: July 17-August 22

The 39th season of this beloved festival features five weeks of extraordinary chamber music including world premiers, festival debuts and concerts by acclaimed mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, the festival's first artist-in-residence. Works to be performed include world premieres of Cynthia Lee Wong’s Piano Quartet, World Music concert with Wu Man and Friends, and Mendelssohn’s Octet.


The following events have already taken place, but it's not too early to start planning for next year:

New Mexico Jazz Festival at various venues: July 19-31

Jazz fans know this is a special festival, taking place in an array of venues in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque. This year's schedule includes The Preservation Hall Band, Mose Allison, Randy Weston's African Rhythms Quintet, John Pizzarelli and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Performances take place at The Lensic and the Plaza in Santa Fe and at the Outpost Performance Space and Nob Hill's Summerfest in Albuquerque.

Herb and Lavender Fair at El Rancho de las Golondrinas:  July 23-24

This is the place for lavender lovers, as this event celebrates all things lavender. You can take a tour of an herb garden, attend presentations by experts, learn to make a lavender wand and sample foods prepared with lavender. Warning: this fair has been known to inspire those who attend to plant their own fragrant lavender fields and introduce lavender products into their daily lives.

Traditional Spanish Market/Contemporary Hispanic Market on the Plaza; July 30-31

Celebrating the rich heritage of Northern New Mexico, the annual Spanish Market features jewelry, furniture, wood carved saints known as santos, weaving and other Spanish Colonial art forms created by more than 200 local and regional artists. The market also includes art demonstrations, food and live music and dance performances. The Contemporary Hispanic Market, held at the same time on the adjacent Lincoln Avenue, features modern work by dozens of contemporary artists that is directly related to the Spanish Colonial art seen during the Spanish Market on the Plaza.


Viva Mexico at El Rancho de las Golondrinas: July 16-17

Celebrate the culture, cuisine and crafts of Mexico during this weekend festival, held at a living history museum devoted to Spanish Colonial traditions. Events include performances by Tierra de Humo, a 40-person Guelaguetza dance troupe from Oaxacal and Cornisa 20, a Mexican comedy sensation. There's also a Huipil fashion show, mariachi music, piñatas and loterias for the kids and an artisan market representing more than a dozen Mexican states.  Don't miss this exciting weekend where you'll experience cultural events rarely found outside of Mexico.