Roger MaroltCruising on Marolt ControlSnowmass Village, CO Colorado

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July 31, 2012
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Roger Marolt: The laws of marking your concert territory

OK, enough squabbling about local politics, what to do about Ghost Village, and why nobody comes to Snowmass in the summer. We need to focus our attention on something that really matters. We need to put the unwritten law into writing about how to properly stake your claim to a spot in the general admission section of the Labor Day Jazz Aspen Snowmass concerts.Remember the big episode last year where our mayor went all brouhaha with a visiting lawyer from Golden over a prime stage-viewing spot near the sound booth? Yeah, it was ugly. Apparently the mayor got to the venue before the rooster crowed and laid his blanket down then left, hoping to come back later and enjoy his undisturbed plot as soon as the music started. Then a gust of wind showed up and blew the mayor's blanket into a wad next to the fence. Then the lawyer showed up and parked his fanny in the spot vacated by the mayor's blanket. The next thing you know the mayor returns. He's in a tizzy finding a stranger in his sacred ground and begins reciting unwritten law verbatim and dropping names, namely his own. The attorney, in turn, shouts back laws he's memorized from books and threatens to destroy the local tourist economy and the mayor's political career with one letter to the editor. The rest is history that we don't need to repeat, especially within ear shot of the children.Instead, we need to review the proper protocol for saving your seats in general admission at the concerts this fall. First of all, despite the irritation it causes sensible people who believe that if you buy a general admission ticket you should just show up at the concert and expect to take whatever space is available when you get there, it is perfectly acceptable, based mostly on local wives tales and superstition, to throw down a blanket, towel, tarp, or an old deflated kiddie wadding pool on an open section of land anywhere in the general admission area to claim that spot for yourself for the entire day, whether you actually ever spend anytime on that spot or not.That said, it is best to anchor your blanket to the ground to avoid natural wind shifting of your claim marker. Tent stakes are best, but they are difficult to drive into the rock-hard surface of Town Park. The next best thing is a heavy backpack. Since nobody in their right mind would leave a good pack stuffed with valuables unattended on a blanket in the general admission section of a rock concert, I suggest taking an old one filled with sand. Yes, they will look at you funny when you go through security, but there is nothing illegal about carrying 50 pounds of sand into the concert. You can even deduct its cost as a charitable contribution if you dump it onto the softball infield section of the venue after the show.So far, so good. However, there is an often neglected part of marking your territory at the concerts, and no, it does not involve urine, believe it or not. What it does entail is placing a small note card on your spot that properly identifies you in case there is a problem with your claim while you are not there. The note card should include your name, your cell number, how long you have lived in the valley or if you are a visitor, and whether you are prone to fighting and/or filing lawsuits. The main reason for the identification card is to give locals ultimate rights at the concert. Technically, the longer you have lived in Snowmass Village, the closer you have the right to be to the stage. Remember, too, that having registered to vote in the Base Village approval election in no way, by itself, qualifies you as a resident. You may have fooled the Colorado Secretary of State, but we know better, don't we?The way it works is that if you show up and a spot is already marked, if you have lived in the valley longer than the person who put the blanket down, you may uproot that blanket, sand bags and all, and put your blanket down in that spot instead. Common decency says that you should re-establish the displaced person's blanket right behind yours in good order, but it is not required. Basically, this means tourists will most likely be sitting back by the smoking areas and outhouses. It should be noted that none of this applies to the VIP section. Some people claim that this makes the reserved seat tickets look cheap by comparison. Roger Marolt still needs to check the Town lost and found for the blanket he misplaced last Labor Day. Contact him at

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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 31, 2012 07:23PM Published Jul 31, 2012 06:05PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.