“Being able to say we opened for Linda Ronstadt is definitely a nice résumé builder,” says Edward Burch, singer/songwriter and guitarist for Foma, one of the 14 bands who will rock Balloon Fiesta Park on July 4. It doesn’t hurt that Foma will be playing in front of more than 80,000 people (some of whom probably have never made it out to a show). And, thanks to the work of Tom Frouge (he’s producing the entertainment for the event), when Foma performs, more eyes will be on them than ever before.
“In the past for this event, they’ve used all of Balloon Fiesta Park,” notes Frouge. “We wanted to shrink it down and not use the whole park so that when 80,000 people are watching Linda Ronstadt it will look like it ... the stages will be the focal points.”
There will be three stages including the main stage, where Ronstadt and her Mariachi band will perform; the Route 66 Stage, where Foma and other local acts will play; and the Sister Cities Stage, which will feature bands from as far away as China and Turkmenistan. “I wanted the focus to be on Albuquerque and the Southwest since it’s our 300th birthday,” explains Frouge. “But we’re also getting some great acts from all over the world as well.”
As for the rumor that Mayor Martin Chavez and his band will be opening for Ms. Ronstadt, as was posted on Rocksquawk.com, Frouge says it’s not that simple. “He’s joining his friends’ band, Redline 7000, for one song,” which, it’s worth mentioning, is the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie.” “This event isn’t about politics, it’s about entertainment,” Frouge says, adding “and it should be really entertaining to see the mayor sing ‘Louie Louie,’ because I don’t even think the Kingsmen knew the words to the song.”
The evening will conclude with the largest fireworks display in the state and, at just $1, admission price is a non-issue. Make sure to get there early so you can take in as much of the non-music related goodies as possible, which will include a recreation area with basketball, volleyball and climbing, a classic car show and a beer garden, as well as a balloon glow later in the evening. The gates open at 3 p.m. You can get more details on the event by visiting cabq.gov/music and clicking on the “events” link.