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Organizers of Animas River Jam decide not to hold the two-day music festival this fall


Festival would have conflicted with previously scheduled events

FARMINGTON — There will not be a fall version of the Animas River Jam, after all.

Organizers of the two-day music festival that took place in May along the banks of the Animas River in Farmington were so pleased with the success of their initial venture that they planned to stage a second festival in October. But they backtracked from that plan after discovering there already were several other events booked in the area during that time.

"We don't want to mess with that," said D'Ann Waters, president of the River Reach Foundation, the organization that presented the Animas River Jam. "We don't want to take away from what any of those other groups are doing."

Waters said there were big events already planned throughout San Juan County every weekend in September and October, and her organization didn't want to put residents in the position of having to choose between those happenings and her group's festival.

She cited the music offerings at the Tico Time River Resort as a major reason why her group is backing away from its idea. The resort is having a country music festival Sept. 30-Oct. 2 and a blues festival Oct. 7-10.

"We're not going to do it this fall," Waters said. "We hope to do it next fall or in late August when there's not so much going on. We looked at everything we could possibly do, and there was something every single weekend."

Waters said her group even considered holding the festival as late as in November but ultimately decided the weather would be too risky.

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But the River Reach Foundation was so pleased by the public's reaction to the inaugural version of the event that it still hopes to resurrect it at some point.

"We want to keep this as an annual event, maybe in late August, but not during (the Connie Mack World Series) or the (San Juan County Fair)," she said.

Waters emphasized that the decision had nothing to do with the public's reception for the first festival, which she said was very good, and everything to do with a desire to avoid conflicts with older, well-established community events. She said River Reach Foundation board members were very disappointed about having to make the decision, but they realized it was the right one.

"All the reports we got were positive," she said. "That made us think Farmington would support something like this again. But it's just too late in the year (to try to find an open date)."

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The Animas River Jam was held May 29-30 in Berg and Animas parks in Farmington, featuring 14 bands and several food trucks. The event was planned as an alternative to the three-day Riverfest celebration, which was cancelled for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waters already has said Riverfest will return in the spring of 2022, and River Reach Foundation members are taking steps to ensure the event makes a big splash. They are working with New Mexico tourism officials and a large event planner to bring several new features to the festival, and planning began several weeks ago, Waters said.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.