Rock Against Racism rally set at Totah Theater
FARMINGTON — Born and raised here, Arthur Allison Jr. has spent most of the last several years promoting concerts in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. But the 1996 Farmington High School graduate has something special planned for his return to this market this weekend.
Allison is putting together the Rock Against Racism Farmington rally Saturday, July 30 at the Totah Theater, an event that will feature six acts performing in various genres. He said the event is designed to unite local residents and help them discover things they have in common, instead of concentrating on what separates them.
“I’ve always wanted to bring in artists to promote unity through the art of music,” Allison said of his professional return to his hometown. “It thought it was the perfect paradigm for the community.”
Allison may do most of his work elsewhere in New Mexico, but he still calls Farmington home. He said he promoted one of his first shows seven or eight years ago at the Totah, and he’s always had the urge to come back and build on that experience.
“It went well, but it was band oriented,” he said of that show. “It was about music itself. After going through that, I thought there was something more I wanted to promote. I was interested in doing something community oriented, something more substantial.”
Allison has been keeping that thought in mind for several years, even as he built a reputation for himself as a promoter and music booking agent in Santa Fe and Albuquerque through showcases organized under his Tribal Blendz moniker. Finally, last year, the organizers of the Santa Fe chapter of Rock Against Racism, a campaign launched in Britain in 1976 in response to the growth of white nationalist groups there, reached out to Allison and asked him to help organize Rock Against Racism rallies throughout the state. He quickly agreed.
Since then, Allison has helped stage Rock Against Racism rallies at The Palace Restaurant and Saloon in Santa Fe in April and at Burt’s Tiki Lounge in Albuquerque in June. Allison said the Albuquerque event was designed to raise money, food and camping supplies for members of that city’s homeless population, many of whom recently had been displaced. The response was tremendous, he said, noting the event sold out.
“There’s a lot of negativity out there,” Allison said. “At the same time, these artists bring a lot of good to their community. The Santa Fe and Albuquerque events did really, really well with bringing support to both of those communities, and they were full of positive vibes. Everyone was talking to each other, and we had pretty much every nationality or race there. They were talking about politics and economics. It was a very, very intellectual crowd there.”
Allison isn’t sure whether his rally here will generate the same kind of response, but he’s hopeful it will. He has assembled a slate of six acts for the show, a lineup that features Cinematica (experimental rock), dTM Music (underground hip-hop), Funky Reggae (reggae), Old Dog Tre (blues), DJ Nutsako and Allison himself, who performs electro-reggae on the ukulele under the stage name Corey Allison.
“I like the message in their music,” he said of the lineup. “I definitely have great respect for their musicality and them as people. They’re all highly, highly intelligent and actually care about the community. They give a good deal of thought to what they’re projecting and what they put out there. And they’re all very well-established acts.”
Allison has plans to stage other shows in the region under the Tribal Blendz banner after this weekend’s rally here.
“I want to reach out to communities that can’t get (much) live music, especially places on the reservation like Shiprock and Tohatchi,” he said.
But the Totah Theater rally is his focus for now, and he hopes the event helps promote a more understanding atmosphere in a place that he says has always been the scene of a great deal of conflict.
“It’s a beautiful area, and people want to control it,” he said. “I want to raise awareness here and let people know there’s an alternative to being negative. This whole event was established to get people to communicate.”
Allison acknowledged that the poor local economy has contributed in no small way to that negativity in recent years. But he believes that situation also has created an opportunity for local residents to realize they need each other.
“It’s flattened the playing field,” he said. “It’s forcing businesses to be more open to everybody. They’re not just catering to people with a lot of money. It’s forcing them to respect each other.”
Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.
If you go
What: Rock Against Racism Farmington rally featuring Cinematica, Corey Allison, dTM Music, Funky Reggae, Old Dog Tre and DJ Nutsako
When: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 30
Where: The Totah Theater, 315 W. Main St. in Farmington
For more information: Call 505-330-8282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org