ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Remember that very public feud between the University of New Mexico and the Gathering of Nations over how much the event should pay to rent out The Pit? KRQE News 13 has learned they will be paying more to hold the event at the Fairgrounds this weekend.
The General Manager of Expo New Mexico said he didn’t waste time reaching out to the people in charge of the Gathering of Nations after their deal fell through at UNM. However, they’re making sure they don’t lose money on the deal.
For years, the Gathering of Nations at The Pit has been a common sight, but this year, Vaughn Stands needs to adjust to the new location.
“I’ve been coming to the Gatherings since I was a kid, since I was about 5 years old. I was a tiny tot,” said Stands, who has been performing at the event for the majority of his life.
UNM gave the Gathering of Nations the boot after last year’s run, in what was a very public spat over money and control over the event. According to UNM, event organizers paid the university around $20,000 in rent, but UNM said it lost thousands on the deal each year.
Enter Expo New Mexico.
“We were glad to be able to offer them an opportunity to paint a different canvas if you will,” said Dan Morning, the general manager.
That new location is also going to cost the Gathering of Nations a lot more money than they were spending at The Pit.
“They’re absolutely paying more. This is a different venue, it’s apples and oranges. They are using the entire grounds, rather than just the Tingley Coliseum, so of course the expenses are going to be greater,” Morning said.
That will cost them roughly $100,000. It will cover the use of the Fairground’s facilities, security, clean-up and parking, among other things. Expo New Mexico also hopes to make a profit from this weekend’s event.
As for Stands, he’s been a long time performer at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. He said Tingley Coliseum has one major advantage.
“Probably kind of enjoy it because there’s not so much stairs you have to walk down, because at The Pit, you have to walk straight down the stairs. You know, those stairs kind of kill you,” he said.
Expo New Mexico won’t know how much they will profit until after the event. It runs on Friday and Saturday and will cost $18 for admission.