Ghost Ranch Music Weekend celebrates pioneering and innovative women in the Abiquiú summer home and studio of wildly popular American painter Georgia O’Keeffe.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Georgia O’Keeffe’s presence in northern New Mexico remains palpable. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is a hit among tourists, who often couple a visit to the Santa Fe arts center with a jaunt to her two residences and studios in Abiquiú, about an hour’s drive from Santa Fe.
Tours of the O’Keeffe Home and Studio, an adobe house located closer to the town of Abiquiú and The O’Keeffe Welcome Center, are sold out for August and September. (There’s limited availably in October and November.) During the summers, the American modernist painter, who passed away in 1986 at the age of 98, lived at Ghost Ranch, a 21,000-acre property located twelve miles from the village of Abiquiú. Today, the non-profit Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center, which subsists on donations, is a high desert sanctuary with tours, trails, and a restaurant.
An event this weekend at Ghost Ranch intends to synchronize O’Keeffe’s legacy in northern New Mexico with contemporary female artists.
Ghost Ranch Music Weekend, scheduled to take place Friday, August 20, and Saturday, August 21, will feature performances by Rosanne Cash, Neko Case, Margo Price, Shannon McNally, Valerie June, Bedouine, and Lyla June. In the making since last year, the event will be the largest by far for Ghost Ranch, which teamed with AMP Concerts to produce the music weekend that’s nearing a sellout. At the time of writing, all on-site lodging options were booked; however, two-day passes as well as Friday and Saturday day tickets were available.
“My hope is that this event will grow quickly to become one of the defining events for New Mexico, attracting artists and patrons from around the country, if not the world, to experience music in the beautiful landscape that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe, and to bring awareness to the history of the land, the many cultures that lived, worked, and were inspired by that place long before O’Keeffe ever came along,” says Jamie Lenfestey of AMP Concerts, which teamed with Meow Wolf for the Taos Vortex event in 2019.
Last week, AMP Concerts, which is currently producing the Railyard Concert Series at the Santa Fe Railyard, announced that proof of vaccination or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours is required to attend Ghost Ranch Music Weekend, the Mt. Joy and Trampled by Turtles show at Santa Fe Brewing Company, and all upcoming shows at Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center.
Anna Maria Gonzales, Ghost Ranch director of marketing and communications, says that the center plans to host around 300 overnight visitors at its lodging facilities and campgrounds. Ghost Ranch expects 1,100 to 1,200 attendees on both Friday and Saturday. Tewa Women United will receive a portion of the proceeds.
Gonzales and Lenfestey explain that a symbiotic connection led to a planned debut in 2020, and that the 2021 event isn’t driven by recouping lost pandemic revenue.
“The intention is bringing really great quality entertainment for Rio Arriba County and the local community. This first one is really a diving board from which we’ll learn some things, and it will become the foundation for future events both large and small,” says Gonzales. “It will celebrate the history of and honor pioneering women. We thought it would be a natural match because of Ghost Ranch’s affiliation with Miss O’Keeffe.”
As far as potential traffic headaches, Gonzales says that they’ve alerted area businesses, including Bode’s General Store, ahead of time. “Some extra economic development for this area will be nice, especially after COVID,” she says.
One Abiquiú local, who wished to remain anonymous, isn’t concerned about the weekend swell of visitors. “It’s just so empty out there and anyone who lives nearby will be grateful that something is happening after 6 pm.”