THE RE-BIRTH OF LA SALA DE LOS GRIEGOS:
Our community performance space in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
La Sala started as a small idea after band practice (and after a few beers) for a backyard bandstand and blossomed into a fully fledged community performance space—having now hosted events from musical performances, to community theater, social activists speeches to costume parties, and more—all in the backyard of a 100-year-old dancehall-turned-house in the north valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Over a few weeks time in early 2020, we gathered friends from other local bands, drew up plans, went to the lumberyard, and built a stage behind our home studio. It felt fitting. It was a stage built by musicians, for musicians, on the historic La Sala de Los Griegos property, the original dancehall of Los Griegos in the 1920s. We were getting back to the roots and history of the old Los Griegos neighborhood.
Initially, La Sala was meant to be a quaint house concert experience, mostly for our own band and our friends’ bands, where we could have informal shows and parties. The same week we erected the stage, the pandemic shut down the world and plans for La Sala were ditched.
Fast-forward to summer 2021, our band was vaccinated, outdoor events were picking up in Albuquerque, and we were seeing a need for a space like La Sala–something small, outdoors, limited capacity–to ease back into shows.
Our first event was a Halloween-costume party-live music-extravaganza. It was a unique experience being both performer and presenter. We had the chance to define every aspect from safety protocol to the menu. We were able to streamline communications, and we got to do whatever the heck we wanted! It was an unforgettable party!
Immediately after word got out, we had local businesses offering to sponsor food and beverages. We had bands from all over the country emailing our band asking to play La Sala, we had neighbors asking when we would be hosting more events because they had never connected with other neighbors in that way before. It was incredible. We set out to just have a fun backyard show once in a while, but what we ended up creating was this space–this sense of community we had been lacking for so long.
Since that first show, we have had the pleasure of hosting all of our favorite local bands, a documentary filmmaker, a queer-led theater project, BIPOC-led mutual aid organizers and activists, and we’ve partnered with local restaurants and business owners to feed every guest for free at each event. Band members and friends volunteer to run each event, from the box office to sound techs, to photographers and even bakers (Our very own Clara Byom has baked hundreds of cookies, maybe even thousands at this point!). We do it all. It’s all volunteer- and donation-based and every event our turnout has grown exponentially. It’s a labor of love for and by our local community.
At the end of the day our passion is to connect with our community. Although we are used to making that connection from the stage, now we get to SHARE that stage with other performers, which leads to awesome networking opportunities. It ends up being a space where we can talk a bit of shop–we’ve made connections with new presenters and festivals through other performers, and we’ve had presenters step in to use La Sala as an alternative space. Plus, it has been a space where it has become more clear (especially during pandemic times) that it is important to show up to your colleagues' shows, because then they'll show up for yours too–that supporting one another is critical.
We’ve learned that word-of-mouth is a powerful force. We’ve learned that a sense of community is a powerful force. That these are more than events, they are experiences. That everyone who has attended an event at La Sala feels connected to one another.
La Sala has been operating for just over a year now and it is bigger than anything we ever expected. We just wanted to throw a concert in the backyard every now and then. And we are honored this became a community hub and an artistic hub in our neighborhood.
house rules & Getting to La SaLA
Click here to download or print a map and parking instructions:
- La Sala is a private residence. The only permitted entry/exit is the gate on Compound North, east of the house.
- Please enjoy the event in designated areas only, do not enter any areas marked private.
- Biking and carpooling are encouraged! If driving, please park along Griegos (Never on Compound North or Michelle without explicit permission).
- Shows are 100% FREE, however, we strongly encourage you to tip the performers. $20 is our suggested donation per person but you can pay as much or as little as you wish.
- We typically provide refreshments and chairs but you are welcome to bring your own food*, drinks**, lawn chairs, blankets, etc.
- Unless otherwise stated, shows are all ages and kids are welcome.
- Absolutely no pets allowed. Sorry!
- Please respect our neighbors-do not block driveways, do not litter, be mindful of our curfew (9 PM).
*Due to severe food allergies of our resident kiddos, please do not bring anything containing oats, apples, or poultry on site.
**Alcohol is permitted and we try to provide local beer to guests.