Belen Music and Art Festival to rock Eagle Park

........................................................................................................................................................................................

They'll strum their instruments. They'll jam with the crowd, and for rocking the house, the winner of the Battle of the Bands will win a cash prize and studio time to record three songs.

Nine local bands will compete at the Belen Music and Art Festival on Saturday, Oct. 22, and will feature local artists and their crafts and mouth watering food. The festival, hosted by City of Belen Parks and Recreation and Rio Grande Sound Studio, will be held at Eagle Park.

Each band will have half an hour to charm the judges and audience, beginning at 2 p.m., in an effort to record their music in Belen's Rio Grande Sound Studio.

Homegrown talent will be judged by local musicians, Johnathan Darrough, Marvin Montoya and Jim Hull, said Brenda Gurule, recreation director. They will be judged on musicianship, stage presence and audience interaction.

Music from contestants ranges from country western to heavy metal. Some of the bands appearing are the country western Desert Street, punk alternative Crushed, indie folk Young Lungs, pop punk Finally Friday and heavy metal Rank Zero.

The headliner will be Desert Street, since they sold double the admissions tickets required, Gurule said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns it," Gurule said. "The artists were very enthusiastic about the event."

Each performance will be interspersed by solo artists.

During the art show, which begins at noon, artisans will feature their crafts with some pieces for sale. Exhibits will include art from the Belen Art League, Belen High School art program and Tomé Art Gallery.

For those looking for a delicious bite to eat during intermission, food vendors will offer residents carnival and baked goods and New Mexican food.

Local past musicians, such as Eddie Benavidez from Eddie Benavidez y Los Jesters and Mel Sanchez from Mel's Music, will be honored at 5 p.m.

The family festival came about when residents approached Mayor Rudy Jaramillo with the idea, Gurule said. When Gurule looked into offering the event, she was impressed with the response she received from the artists, she said.

"We saw an interest," she said. "Musicians want to showcase their talent."

Although the competition and exhibit were thrown together in two months, Gurule is hoping to make it an annual event, she said.

"We want to build on it and add different components, such as a competition for solo artists and display various forms of art," she said.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs for the festival, which is sponsored by KARS Radio and Eagle 98 FM.

Tickets for the festival are sold at the Eagle Park Belen Community Center for $5 or at the gate for $8. For information, or to display your art at the event, contact Brenda Gurule at 966-2700.


Contact Abigail R. Ortiz