EL PASO, Texas – The city of El Paso announced Wednesday that it is canceling the annual summer Music Under the Stars concert series after 36 years due to declining attendance in recent times.
In a statement, the city's Museums and Cultural Affairs Department said "the outdoor program will go on an extended hiatus while the future of the program is reevaluated."
The statement cited an attendance drop of 96% during the past decade despite adding Grammy-winning headliners to the performance schedules. The city also said cuts in federal funding at the Chamizal National Memorial contributed to the decision.
“As entertainment options across El Paso increased, we started to see a decrease in this program that made it unsustainable at this time,” explained Tracey Jerome, El Paso's deputy city manager.
At the height of its popularity in the early 2000s, officials said attendance at Music Under the Stars averaged roughly 12,500 people per concert. But last year, it drew just over 500 attendees at each performance.
Jerome acknowledged the decision to cancel Music Under the Stars after more than three decades of concerts was bittersweet.
“We are proud of our long history of showcasing El Paso’s talented local musicians as well as bringing nationally and internationally known artists to this concert series,” Jerome said.