Animas, Berg parks host live music, food at Animas River Jam

New event being held in place of Riverfest this year

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
Jeff Day of Johnny's Jumbo Turkey Legs works the grill in Berg Park in Farmington on May 29. Food vendors are working the inaugural Animas River Jam in Animas and Berg parks on May 29 and 30.
  • The inaugural Animas River Jam has started, taking place on May 29 and 30 in Animas and Berg parks in Farmington.
  • The festival runs through noon to 7:30 p.m. on May 29 and noon to 5 p.m. on May 30.
  • The Rocky Reach Landing in Animas Park and the River Reach Terrace in Berg Park are the two sites the Animas River Jam is being held at.

FARMINGTON — One of the first public events in San Juan County since the COVID-19 pandemic started is underway as community members descend upon two Farmington parks for live music.

The inaugural Animas River Jam has started, taking place on May 29 and 30 in Animas and Berg parks.

The event was designed as a downsized production compared to the long-running Memorial Day weekend festival Riverfest.

It had been canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ashley Neztsosie, left, and Andrew Robertson, right, set up their lawn chairs in Berg Park in Farmington on May 29, eager to listen to live music. Multiple bands are playing the inaugural Animas River Jam in Animas and Berg parks on May 29 and 30.

D’Ann Waters, River Reach Foundation president, told The Daily Times it would have been difficult to host Riverfest this year, as it attracted about 30,000 in 2019.

The non-profit foundation and the City of Farmington are hosting the event.

She was eager to see people arrive for the event, which took steps to limit crowds and implement social distancing.

“People do have a tendency to get really squashed in because there’s so many people and we just didn’t feel like that was a safe thing to do just yet,” Water said of Riverfest. 

The Rocky Reach Landing in Animas Park and the River Reach Terrace in Berg Park are the two sites where the Animas River Jam is being held.   

People arrived at the two parks before the music started playing at noon on May 29. Spectators had set up chairs and blankets near the gazebo at Berg Park, eager to hear live music.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets as the event isn’t providing any seating.

Dwayne Raymond of Bloomfield was setting up his lemonade and kettle corn stand for the first time since 2019.

He said it was a total shutdown of events in 2020 and he is still trying to figure out which events he can attend for the summer and fall.

Raymond was excited to work a public event, like in years past.

“It’s good to be out and see people,” Raymond said.

Members of Black Velvet perform at the gazebo in the River Reach Terrace on May 29 in Berg Park in Farmington. They are one of several bands performing at the inaugural Animas River Jam in Animas and Berg parks on May 29 and 30.

The festival runs from noon to 7:30 p.m. on May 29 and noon to 5 p.m. on May 30.

Waters sees the Animas River Jam becoming an annual event, possibly held in the fall.

The nonprofit is hosting a survey at its two booths to see if there is interest within the community to continue the event.

The River Reach Terrace on May 30 will feature the Pete Giuliani Band performing at noon to 1:30 p.m., the Delbert Anderson Trio from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Ben Gibson from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Rocky Reach Landing will have the Kirk James Band perform from noon to 1:30 p.m., the Bill Woodard Band from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the Shawn Arrington Blues Band from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Desert River Guides will be leading guided Animas River trips hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days from its shop at 109 E. Pinon St. Call 505-437-7734 for more information.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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