The tomatoes have been late this season, in my avid tomato-fiend opinion. But now they’re arriving, we’re devouring fresh tomatoes like crazy here at Cheap Central. I read that if you eat avocados at the same time, you absorb up to seven times as much of the antioxidant lycopene from the tomatoes. New Mexico already knew this. This is why we all eat salsa and guacamole, isn’t it?
Health benefits aside, at the peak of summer nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato and I only wish I could grow them myself. Our current attempt at cherry tomatoes has yielded exactly two so far in 2013. Last year we did better, with a grand total of four cherry tomatoes over the entire summer. They ripen one cherry tomato at a time, which we solemnly cut in half to share. They taste delicious but watching Mr Cheap eat half a cherry tomato is like giving a peanut to Daizy the elephant.
Still, if you’re as fond of tomatoes as we are, you won’t want to miss this very juicy annual event. It’s cheap too!
The 2013 Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta takes place Sunday, August 25 from 11 am – 3 pm, at the Albuquerque Garden Center.
Presented by the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners, the Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta offers lots of activities for a $5 admission fee, and kids aged under 12 are FREE! (Or rather their admission is, I don’t suppose they’re growing kids beside the tomato plants to give away.)
Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta includes:
- Free gardening seminars at 11:30 am (Tomatoes 101 with the Tomato Guys) and 12:30 pm (Preserving the Harvest with Cindy Davies.) At 1:30 pm Peter Sinanian will be sharing advice on Raised Beds and Fall Gardens.
- Cooking demonstrations
- Heirloom tomato tasting
- Free plant clinic by the Master Gardeners
- Kids’ activities
- Music by the Alpha Blue Trio
- Fresh produce for sale
The Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta is sponsored by Jericho Nursery and Montano Acura.
- When: Sunday August 25, 2013
- Time: 11 am – 3 pm
- Where: Albuquerque Garden Center
- Price: $5 adults, free for kids aged under 12
Albuquerque Garden Center is located at 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE, at Eubank.
The community series of free AMP Concerts gives everyone the chance to hear some great live music from local and touring bands not just on the cheap, but without paying a single cent. Reservations are usually required in advance and it’s easy to book online.
On the current lineup of free AMP Concerts, August and September 2013 brings a several familiar and popular names to play for our pleasure. Book a space at the concerts via the above link.
WAGOGO: August 5
The Albuquerque band Wagogo performs on Monday August 5 at 12:30 pm at the N4th Theater, 4904 4th Street NW. The group mixes up Chicano and Mexican influences with the spirit music of Zimbabwe.
MALA MANA: August 10 and 17
Mala Maña perform in two free concerts on August 10 and 17. The Albuquerque-based all-female percussion band plays music from merengue to reggae, and mixing up the Latin, African and global music styles.
The Mala Maña concert on Saturday August 10 is held at 12 noon at East Mountain Library in Tijeras. (Nice and cool up there!) The concert on Saturday August 17 will be at 12 noon at Taylor Ranch Library, 5700 Bogart NW.
Sounds like a very pleasant way to groove it out on a Saturday afternoon. (Yes, I’m very old. That’s why I say things like “groove it out”.)
QTANGO: September 5 and 7
QTango from Albuquerque (could ya guess it by the name?) plays authentic Argentine tango music of the Golden Age of tango. The first of the two QTango concerts is on Thursday September 5 at 5:30 pm at the Special Collections Library, 423 Central Avenue NE. The second is on Saturday September 7 at 1 pm at the Ernie Pyle Library, 900 Girard SE. I do love the Ernie Pyle Library, it’s one of my most frequent haunts to pick up and drop off my books. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
The organizers request that music-lovers reserve a space at the free AMP Concerts online in advance.
Sing and Swing Southwest offers free Music Together classes for kids on June 28, 29, and 30, 2013. Although the classes are free, you must register in advance pronto as spaces are limited!
The free Music Together classes are offered during Sing and Swing’s teacher training weekend, aimed at tots aged 0 – 5 years old with their parent or caregiver.
Music Together is an early childhood music and movement program, introducing youngsters to the pleasures of making music. I’m sure it’s fun for the child (and the parent!) and they learn stuff too – what’s not to love?
The free Music Together Classes will be held at Dance Theater Southwest on Wyoming Boulevard. Sing and Swing offers three date options to choose from:
- Friday June 28, 2013, at 11 am
- Saturday June 29 at 11 am
- Sunday June 30 at 11 am
Register in advance for the demonstration classes at the Sing and Swing website by clicking the big yellow Free Demo Class bubble! All classes have spaces available at time of writing, but I suspect they will fill fast.
If you miss those free Music Together classes on the teacher training weekend, you might be able to attend a free class instead during Sing and Swing’s regular program session, depending on availability.
Dance Theater Southwest is located at 4200 Wyoming Boulevard NE.
The Rio Rancho free music concerts series is in the swing for summer 2013, offering musical pleasure and any dancing you choose to do on Sunday evenings. They’ve some great acts on the schedule!
Rustle up a picnic and take blankets, lawn chairs or whatever other seating arrangement suits you (probably leave the La-Z-Boy at home) to the Rio Rancho free music concerts for summer 2013. They’re all on Sunday evenings through August 25 2013 and they all run from 6:30 -8 pm at the Rotary Club Barbeque Pavilion in Haynes Park.
The kids can do their thang on the free fun jumps while you chill out listening to a nice mix of familiar and new performers. The Haynes Park music schedule at time of writing is:
- June 16: Twisted Mojo
- June 23: Point Blank
- June 30: Bosque Blues
- July 7: Saint Wolf
- July 14: Rio Rancho Community Jazz Band
- July 21: Rio Rancho Community Concert Band
- July 28: Interplay
- Aug. 4: The Hit Squad
- Aug. 11: The Otherside
- Aug. 18: Code 29
- Aug. 25: Rio Rancho Community Jazz Band
The Rio Rancho free music concerts are of course weather-permitting, at Haynes Park, 2006 Grande Boulevard, Rio Rancho, opposite Intel.
The free County Line music series of concerts 2013 are back, bringing us feel-good summer music PLUS a chance to feel good about helping others.
Giant Convenience Store Concerts at the County Line run every Thursday night from June 6 to August 8, 2013 at 7 – 9 pm. Just head over to The County Line restaurant to enjoy live country music (and of course some of their famous barbecue!) The concerts are free with a donation of a canned food item or cash donation for Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque.
The free County Line music concerts schedule is still firming up, but so far it’s confirmed that they are bringing us these notable country music performers for this summer series:
- June 6: Simon Balkey
- June 13: Bob Farrell & Brushfire
- July 11: Ryan McGarvey
- See the performers for the rest of the Albuquerque free concert season to August 18 as they are confirmed.
If you’re a music-lover aged under 21, then sorry, but these concerts are for age 21+ only, unless you’re accompanied by a parent.
The County Line Legendary Bar-B-Q restaurant is located in the far northeast heights. Check the
County Line restaurant map – it’s near the intersection of Tramway Blvd and Tramway Rd, at 9600 Tramway Blvd NE, Albuquerque.
You won’t want to miss the 2013 Albuquerque Folk Festival on Saturday June 1, and you won’t want to miss these advance ticket discounts either…
Right now you can get 2 adult tickets for $15 in a limited time deal at this link via Living Social – the regular adult ticket price is $20 each if you wait to buy on the day, or $15 each in advance. I’m not sure how long this BOGO offer runs, or if there’s any cap on the ticket quantity.
Then gather up the family to enjoy fabulous folk music and dance at the Albuquerque Folk Festival on Saturday June 1, 2013. The festival runs from all day from 10 am to 11 pm at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, with performances on three stages, music and dance workshops, lots of great stuff for kids, and jam sessions for all.
Albuquerque Folk Festival tickets cost $20 for adults on the gate. BUT if you miss the BOGO offer to get 2 adult tickets for $15 via Living Social (only available at the link, not from the festival itself), you can still save $5 on adult tickets simply by purchasing tickets in advance from the music shop locations listed at the festival’s website. That brings the adult ticket price down to $15 per person, which is still a pretty good deal for a full day of entertainment.
Plus you can camp free of charge on the Balloon Museum grounds, with admission to start camping from Friday May 31 at 3 pm, and you don’t have to decamp until Sunday at 2 pm. That means you can make a weekend of it, and join in the jamming on Friday and Saturday nights! Camping is available for tents and RVs, see the info at the website.
Other ticket prices for the festival:
- $5 for kid’s tickets for ages 12-18, and the festival is totally free for children aged 11 and under.
- $15 for seniors (65+), students aged 18-25, and military spouses.
- $5 for active duty military
For all the reduced rate tickets, take your ID! There’s no advance purchase discount for these, only for adult tickets.
This year’s folky fun includes:
- A slate of first-rate folk music performances including Le Chat Lunatique, Squash Blossom Boys, Zoltan Orkestar and many more.
- Storytelling, giant puppets and a children’s tent with dance, music, and games
- Music workshops from ABCs of Banjo, to Build a Washtub Bass, to Celtic Singers
- Jamming and a band scramble (take your instrument – there’s a free instrument check room to leave it when you’re not playing)
- Dance workshops from contra dance, to Scottish country dance, to belly dancing with a veil (I never go anywhere without my veil!)
- Food vendors, and they usually have folk and musical items for sale too
- A barn dance
Albuquerque Folk Festival offers far more activities than we can possibly mention, so check out their site to see all the options for this great family-friendly event.
Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is located at 9201 Balloon Museum NE
I’m wrapping up for the year here at ABQ on the Cheap… and I mean that quite literally. I still have to wrap all my gifts for Mr Cheap! So we’ll be back in the New Year, unless I spot a super special deal in the meantime that I can’t resist sharing.
Thanks to you fantastic readers for hanging out with us here at ABQ on the Cheap, and thanks especially to everyone who took the time to comment or send a message. I love receiving your emails with deal tips or just a few friendly words.
Here are a few last-minute seasonal items, and I wish you and yours a very joyful holiday and a wonderful New Year. After all, the best freebie any of us can have is the love of our friends and family – enjoy!
Don’t forget to download your free holiday music to add sparkle to the Christmas parties, and if you’re struggling with last-minute gifts, check out the e-cards and gift cards post with discounts and free bonus cards, or send free $10 restaurant certificatesas gifts for family and friends to January 1.
Send kids of all ages a free personalized holiday phone call or email from Santa, with details tailored to the recipient. You can also send a message via Google+. It’s quite a lot of fun just to create the message.
You can also track Santa’s progess from the North Pole as he travels around the world, and play holiday games in the Kids’ Countdown Village. I’ve been watching Santa’s progress but he doesn’t start his holiday rounds until December 24. I know the feeling. You can also track Santa in Spanish.
Paula Deen’s Holiday Hosting Guide is a free recipe and holiday eBook with cooking and hosting tips, including edible gifts, table decorations and ornaments to make - plus some that are easy for kids. There’s a lot of good advice and holiday ideas packed in the 36 page PDF, and free recipes include Christmas Morning Casserole, as well as some recipes and ideas more targeted to Thanksgiving, but still relevant for Christmas.
These New Mexico Holiday Free Recipes for tamales, posole, empanadas and biscochitos from the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau might also come in handy. The recipes are from Flying Star Cafe, Jane Butel, and other feastly locals.
FELIZ NAVIDAD! We’ll be back with more Albuquerque freebies, discounts, and deals in 2013.
If you’re looking for a little holiday atmosphere while you work / cook / PARTAY! then here are some Christmas 2012 freebies to download for your listening pleasure. Some may only be free for a limited time so download fast if you want them.
Previewing these tunes put me quite in the mood to wrap tinsel round my head, which always makes Mr Cheap nervous that I’ll start chasing him round the house with a sprig of mistletoe.
25 Days of Free Holiday Music Get 5 new free MP3s every 5 days from Amazon through Christmas. Freebies so far include Blue Christmas by Cyndi Lauper, Wonderful Christmastime by The Shins, Carol of the Bells by Capital Kings, and more.
Free Holiday Music from Country Stars including Brad Paisley (Away in a Manger), Lady Antebellum (The First Noel), Katie Armiger (I Just Want to Be With You This Christmas) and more, courtesy of People magazine and iTunes. You need iTunes to download, or get it free at the link. The holiday country music is available till January 4, 2013.
Green Hill Christmas Music Sampler by Beegie Adair and friends, with 12 easy-listening and jazzy tracks of holiday favorites - just the ticket for a mellow dinner party. (From Amazon, as are the rest below.)
Christmas at Home free sampler of five tracks including The Twelve Days of Christmas, Deck the Halls, and Ave Maria. I don’t know why this is called a children’s sampler, it’s very classical Christmas music, beautifully performed by a professional chorus.
Free Must-Have Christmas Masterpieces with four tracks that are just what it says in the title, performed by the International Childrens’ Choir, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and other such luminaries. Individual tracks are 99 cents, but it’s free to get the whole MP3 album.
Christmas Anthem by Albuquerque locals Landon Smith & The Real Matt Jones.
Jingle Bells / Deck the Halls by Clay Crosse – a very lively version, you’ll get the turkey stuffed in no time listening to this one.
Jingle Bells goes smooooooth in lovely grown-up jazz version by Jen Carrozza and band.
O Holy Night by Rick Springfield – very stirring stuff.
Christmas Train by Carey Bell is really rocking! It’s great.
The First Noel by Lady Antebellum brings the spirit of Christmas right through my speakers.
Classic Christmas Singers with Bell Medley. Such an evocative song and if I had a dollar for every time I’d heard it in a movie or on TV, I’d be rich enough to pay for my own music.
God Rest You Merry Gentleman in a soft jazz guitar take by Dan Baraszu and Joseph Patrick Moore.
The Nutcracker Suite Waltz Of The Flowers by Tchaikovsky – a magic and sparkly harp piece that’s perfect background for Santa’s little elves when they’re wrapping gifts.
Winter Night by Little & Ashley, indie pop with a bit of a jingle, and a far cry from Annie Little’s performance in Mad Men.
Christmas Song by Mogwai, kind of a cool and hypnotic instrumental.
Ave Maria by On The Rocks, a beautiful and haunting choral rendition that sounds like you’re in a monastery or cathedral.
O Little Town Of Bethlehem by Nature’s Harmony. A sax version with birds tweeting in the background. I’m in two minds about this one, but it’s certainly different.
And if you’ve ALREADY had enough of Christmas, try Extreme Party Animals with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Nothing to do with the festive season, but always a dead cert winner for a party.
Oh yes, did we mention that they’re all FREE?
If you still need to buy holiday music after all that, Amazon has 100 Holiday MP3 Albums for $5 ranging from Rod Stewart, Harry Connick Jr, and Andy Williams, to A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Polar Express soundtrack, and a Disney holiday playlist.
If you know of any Albuquerque or New Mexico bands with free downloads by iTunes or MP3 that we can import to our various music playing devices, please let me know. I’d love to update the list with more locals!
And thanks to Mr Cheap for letting me chase him with mistletoe.
–Tania. Note: I’ve given my Amazon affiliate links to plug you straight to the free music.
Free music MP3s to download in individual tracks or albums – some are available for a limited time, plus how to get a free $2 credit to spend on MP3s at Amazon.
Get the free $2 Amazon MP3 credit when you fill in the box at the link to say what you’d put in the best care package and then click the button to share on Facebook. Claim the credit and then spend it by December 15, 2012.
Amazon offers a free Artists on the Rise MP3 sampler album each month. You get a free track from a selection of up-and-coming musicians and the choices vary, so if you’re reading this in a future time-warp check out the latest freebies at this link. In October, the free music includes:
Lindi Ortega’s great country sound on Cigarettes & Truckstops
Nathan Pacheco with the always heartstring-twanging classic Nessun Dorma
Let her Go by Passenger - so romantic!
The very mellow and super-sultry Poinciana by Elizabeth Shepherd
Plus Family Band, Jillette Johnson, Black Prairie and more, twelve tracks in all. Download just the tracks you like, or the whole free album.
Blondie fans might find their heart of glass melted by three free songs by Blondie:
I also found this free Green Hill Jazz Sampler of smooth jazz, recently released with very good reviews. Individual tracks on the album by Beegie Adair & Friends cost 99 cents individually, but if you download the entire album it’s currently free – I downloaded it!
The free Relaxation & Meditation album has 60 minutes of chill-out sounds from Native American and Andean flute pieces to “monsoon lullabies” and some really dreamy Tibetan music.
It’s also worth checking out the 100 albums for $5 deal this month that includes classic albums by Bruce Springsteen, The Fray, Kenny Rogers, George Michael, the Footloose soundtrack, and more.
The MP3 single Don’t Dig Here by Crosby and Nash (no Stills) is still free to download and sounds mighty fine.
Don’t Mess With Texas: SXSW 2012 New Music is also still free to download, with music by bands who performed at the South by Southwest 2012 Music and Film Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.
Other free music downloads include:
- Free MP3s of songs with a wide variety of genres and artists familiar and new
- Free MP3 albums including options from children’s music to hard rock, plus opera, rap, classical, latin, country, blues, and jazz. You can sort the free music by selecting the genre to the left at the link.
If you’ve found a great piece of music free or on the cheap – don’t keep it to yourself! Tell us about it in the comments box below.
–Tania. Note: I’ve given my Amazon affiliate links.
Free ukulele lessons, free recording-made-easy lessons, and some coupons for discounts on music equipment.
I can honestly confess that in all my years of hunting out freebies and deals for Albuquerque on the Cheap, this is the first-ever mention of a ukulele deal. So (drumroll) here’s our ukulele debut for players and wannabe players…
Guitar Center Albuquerque offers free ukulele lessons every Saturday starting September 29 through October 27, 2012. The lessons at the Menaul store start at 10:15 am, and are for beginners and experienced players to learn about the ukulele and play music together. It’s the same lesson each week, although you can go to more than one if you want a refresher or if you just enjoy yourself so darn much.
Although the classes are free, Guitar Center requests advance registration at the link, and then you select the Albuquerque store – unless you’re planning a vist to one of their other national stores, in which case don’t forget to pack your ukulele. Select the date you want and register for the available dates:
- September 29
- October 6
- October 13
- October 20
- October 27
Guitar Center also hosts free Recording Made Easy classes showing how to use Avid’s Pro Tools 10 on a Mac computer. Those are on Saturdays September 29 through October 20 at 10 am. Details and registration at the link.
Finally, these Guitar Center coupons offer discounts if you’re planning to buy musical equipment by October 1, 2012. The coupons are for:
- $10 Off a purchase of $49
- $100 Off a purchase of $499
- $200 Off a purchase of $999 or more
You can either use the promo code SAVING200 for online shopping, or get a printable Guitar Center coupon to take in store by filling in your name and email. Some exclusions apply, details at the link, and the coupons are valid until October 1.
Guitar Center Albuquerque is located at 6001 Menaul Boulevard NE.
–Tania. Thanks to Jody at Charlotte on the Cheap for strumming in my ear about the free ukulele lessons!