A new name, new artists, a new family-friendly Friday offering for kids and new ticket options highlight what’s coming to the 2014 Jazz Aspen Snowmass Experience, set for Labor Day weekend at Snowmass Town Park.
The three-day event Aug. 29 through 31 includes an opening-day lineup of reggae veteran Ziggy Marley and 2013 Grammy-winning band Fun. Marley, the son of reggae legend Bob Marley, has won a Grammy for best reggae album four times. Fun. had the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 list in March 2012 with the hit “We Are Young,” which also won the Grammy for song of the year and helped the band earn a Grammy for best new artist.
Aug. 30’s acts will be Earth, Wind and Fire, whose unique blend of songwriting crossed over into almost every genre of popular music, followed by one of the hottest bands in the world today, OneRepublic. The Colorado natives are in the midst of a world tour, including two sold-out shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in May.
The Aug. 31 show will feature country/pop artist Carrie Underwood, the 2005 “American Idol” winner, who has become the franchise’s most successful alumna, with more than 15 million albums sold worldwide, 16 No. 1 singles and five Grammys.
There will be one more artist announced shortly to perform at 5 p.m. Aug. 31.
“One of our programing goals is to try and get at least one band that’s sizzling in a current way, like Mumford and Sons in 2012 and Keith Urban last year,” said Jazz Aspen founder and President Jim Horowitz. “Having OneRepublic and Fun. fits that goal, as both are really current, hot bands.”
All three headlining bands — Fun., OneRepublic and Carrie Underwood — will be making their Roaring Fork Valley debuts at Jazz Aspen. Ziggy Marley played Labor Day in 1999 with Joe Walsh, while Earth, Wind and Fire played at the June show in 2008 and performed at the tent stage that used to go up at Rio Grande Park for 3,000 people.
Horowitz said the unique pairings of acts is just one aspect that makes Jazz Aspen such a different experience for fans.
“One of our mission-driven activities is we’re always looking to expose one aspect of our audience to another part of the music which isn’t in their frame of familiarity,” he said. “That’s where the mixing becomes something that makes sense here and makes sense as a mission objective for our organization. It isn’t how most concert promoters structure things. The Earth, Wind and Fire fans may not be familiar with OneRepublic, but they’ll have a chance to discover what’s happening now. Same in reverse — maybe the young fan of OneRepublic who thinks they’re the greatest band out there today has never had a chance to hear Earth, Wind and Fire live. That’s the goal — to make to make that mix happen.”
Horowitz said the typical procedure for Jazz Aspen is to get the headlining artist first and then build around them in ways they consider complementary, with a goal of selling out that show. Jazz Aspen has a unique profile in that over the course of the weekend, it’s reaching a dramatically wide audience, within the 25- to 65-year-old range.
A new offering this year will be for Aug. 29 as Jazz Aspen presents “Family Friendly Friday,” which allows people to purchase $10 discount tickets for kids 12 and younger. In the past, concert attendees could purchase half-price tickets for kids on the day of the show if tickets were still available, making it difficult to plan in advance because of ticket availability.
There also will be an expanded Kids Corner in the Jazz Aspen Village that provides activities for kids throughout the evening on Aug. 29 and the rest of the weekend.
“Friday nights are the hardest shows to sell out,” Horowitz said. “We feel this a great, new promotion for families and will bring more people out on Fridays. It’s also cheaper than getting a baby sitter.”
Another change is the name of the event, as the word “festival” is out and the word “experience” is in. The meaning of the word “festival” has changed dramatically in the past 10 years with the advent of enormous multi-stage, multi-genre gatherings of 50,000 people or more per day. Jazz Aspen is looking to distance its event in the marketplace from these festivals because the two realistically cannot be compared.
“We’re a completely different animal from those large, multi-stage festivals,” Horowitz said. “We’re eight bands, not 80. Those entities that are now considered festivals are very different than what we offer, and we needed to differentiate the two.”
This year there’s also a new “no tarp” policy. Attendees will be allowed to bring in blankets (maximum size 40 inches by 60 inches) and still may bring low-back lawn chairs.
A new ticket system will introduce three tiers of discounted early-bird purchases. Beginning at 9 a.m. on March 14, there’s a limited amount of $59 tickets for Aug. 29 and $69 tickets for Aug. 30 or 31, with a three-day pass available for $170.
Upon completion of the early-bird purchases, there will be a second level of discount pricing available, with Aug. 29 tickets at $65, Aug. 30 or 31 tickets at $75 and three-day passes at $180. Once the second tier of ticket prices sells out, a third level kicks in at $75 for Aug. 29, $85 for Aug. 30 or 31 and $190 for the three-day pass.
Jazz Aspen also will offer tickets that include access to the Jazz Aspen Deck, which will be located on the main event field. The area includes a private deck and elevated platform where guests can enjoy complimentary beer and wine, specialty cocktails, snacks, grill fare and private restrooms. Deck tickets will cost $250 a day or $650 for the full weekend.
Also on sale now are tickets to the June Jazz Aspen Snowmass Experience shows featuring Diane Krall, Steve Winwood, Tony Bennett, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and more.