Thanks to everyone who participated in July’s MIX Pays survey and submitted their ideas for amping up nightlife in Santa Fe. We received a lot of good ideas, as well as some insight into where our crack team of experts needs to do some problem-solving. And one thing became extremely clear: If we’re going to grow and sustain a music scene that includes “the kind of rock and roll that twenty-somethings do things to their jeans for” (as one respondent put it), everyone’s going to have to show up and do their part.

First of all, there seems to be widespread agreement that Santa Fe needs a downtown, all-ages music venue where alcohol is served. Anyone that remembers the first time they saw a live music performance¬†should know that teenagers are the heart of a vibrant music scene. If we’re going to get decent touring acts to keep coming here, we’re going to have to be able to consistently guarantee turnout. Everyone knows the under-21 crowd is critical, but no one over 21 wants to sacrifice their right to have a cold beer during the show. It’s a real problem, and it deserves a real solution: a venue big enough to section off and make it happen. A picnic license makes it possible to serve alcohol pretty much anywhere–anybody got a big empty warehouse we can borrow?

A lot of you also agree that you want more memorable events as well as¬†cheaper drinks and cheaper ticket prices. This reveals a bit of a catch-22. The quality of events everyone wants to see cost money to put on–money that an event promoter and/or venue has to recoup through ticket sales. As for drink specials, bars and bartenders can get into such serious trouble for overserving that dollar beer night looks more like a liability than an incentive. We agree that a drink special here and a free show there can do wonders for building a vibrant scene–the question is how to make it work legally and financially for the people you rely on to bring you events.

Finally, everyone agrees that they don’t want to have to worry about safe, reliable transportation anymore. It’s beyond ironic, some would say infuriating, that a state so focused on curbing drunk driving (DUI SUPER BLITZ!) would boast a capital city with so few late-night public transportation options. On that note, Rob DeWalt, our MIX Pays winner for July, put forth a concept for extending the Santa Fe Trails bus service to 3 a.m. on limited routes on the weekends for a 3-month trial period. Rob’s idea includes collecting data on usage and DUI incident reports to prove that the extended service is working both financially and to increase safety. In order for it to work, though, people will have to put their money where their mouth is and actually use this new public transportation option during the trial period.

We’d like to try to put Rob’s idea in motion but we need your feedback. What do you think? Would a late-night city bus be used? How could it be promoted? What would it take to get you and your friends to ride it? What routes would be most important? Leave it in the comments or show up at the next MIX event (every third Thursday) to tell us in person.

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