WNMU Cultural Affairs Plans GR 55 Live With Alumni, Future and Current Students In Mind

Silver City, NM – Fifty-five years ago, Great Race was founded by Western New Mexico University students who sought creative ways of involving the entire region in a festival they conceptualized and organized purely for entertainment. Today, Great Race is the university’s longest standing tradition. It returns in 2022 with a week of student-led events revolving around the customary human-powered cart races plus two evenings of music and merriments under the stars, an addition dubbed GR 55 Live. Hosted by WNMU Cultural Affairs on Friday, April 22, and Saturday, 23, the music festival features headliners Alec Benjamin and Los Lobos.

“To mark the return of the tradition generations of Mustangs have carried on, we are inviting those from near and far to come celebrate the ingenuity and drive of our student body at GR 55 Live. The festival is our way of allowing everyone — whether 1967 alumni or incoming WNMU freshmen, to revel in campus culture and dance to music by this generation’s rising stars and by an iconic rock band that many associate with fond memories and good times,” said Dr. Joseph Shepard, who is President of WNMU and a proponent of live, on-campus performances.

Friday night’s concert and accompanying carnival games are geared toward a pre-college and college crowd, while Saturday night’s show is aimed at a broader American southwest audience. On both nights, food trucks will serve up dinner and refreshments.

In addition to Saturday’s running of the Great Race, WNMU is hosting a huacha tournament and car show during the day, along with live music and food trucks.

Singer/songwriter of “Let me Down Slowly” and “Water Fountain,” Alec Benjamin, will headline on Friday evening with Alexa Villa opening. Legendary East LA Rock n Roll Hall of Famers Los Lobos, will headline on Saturday night with Tejano great Ram Herrera opening.

GR 55 Live is scheduled to occur at Regents Square on the WNMU main campus in Silver City. The stage will be situated near the corner of College Ave. and E Street, across from the Mustang fountain and just south of the Brancheau PE Complex, while activities will be in Old James Stadium.

Individual tickets and weekend passes ($25 per adult and $40 per adult, respectively) will be available at wnmu.edu/culture. Those 17 and under will be admitted free both nights. WNMU students, faculty and staff will be admitted free with Mustang ID.

Attendees staying the weekend can mention WNMU to receive a special rate at some local hotels. 

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