Jazz Fest lowers cap on crowds | AspenTimes.com

Jazz Fest lowers cap on crowds

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Jazz Aspen Snowmass will cap crowds at about 10,000 this year ” down from last year’s 12,000, JAS executive director Jim Horowitz said Wednesday.

The five-day event, headlined by the likes of Bob Dylan, Widespread Panic and Dwight Yoakam, is expected to bring thousands of concertgoers to Snowmass Village this weekend.

After concerns about crowd size during the Sunday night concert at last year’s Labor Day festival, JAS is working even harder this year to be ready for them, Horowitz said.

After last year’s concert, the town sat down with JAS to debrief, as they do every year, Snowmass Police Chief Art Smythe said. The consensus at the meeting was that the grounds had been too crowded on one night. Though the overcrowding didn’t have a “significant negative effect,” everyone agreed it hadn’t been the best experience for concertgoers, according to Smythe.

By moving portable toilets from the main concert venue to Brush Creek Road, JAS also has extended the concert venue space. There will also be more toilets, Horowitz said.

He’s also promising to make it easier for attendees to chow and imbibe. Strolling food vendors will carry food to people, limiting lines.

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This year “many, many” more bartenders will serve concertgoers, said Horowitz, adding that there also will be more places to get a beer. Mobile beer kiosks will supplement the larger beer tents. And organizers have separated mixed-drink lines from the beer lines, to further smooth the process of getting a drink.

Both Horowitz and Smythe said that the admission process has been streamlined, though Horowitz didn’t have exact details about what would be different. Smythe believed a “slightly different or improved” wristbanding program would help organizers track exactly how many people were in the venue, moment-to-moment.

But Horowitz noted that ultimately they had to funnel people through a gate ” and could only do that so quickly.

Smythe said police will use the same techniques as years past to ensure a safe and smooth event. About eight extra officers from Aspen, Pitkin County and Basalt also will be on hand, he said. An on-site command center and detoxification tent also will be set up.

“It’s always gone pretty well, but it’s an active time for us,” he said. “You have that many people, there’s always a couple of problems here and there.”

To avoid lines, Horowitz and Smythe encouraged people to arrive earlier. The biggest lines occur between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., Horowitz said.

Horowitz also suggested people remember to bring low lawn chairs ” concertgoers with high chairs will be turned away. And he reminded attendees to bring a backpack with clothing layers.

Concertgoers also are encouraged not to drive to Snowmass. From Wednesday until Monday at 1 p.m., Brush Creek Road will be closed between the roundabout and Horse Ranch Drive. Parking at the Rodeo Lot is $20 and parking at Two Creeks is $10, and both will have limited parking.

Free public buses will run between Aspen and Snowmass Village. Buses will also run frequently between the intercept lot and Snowmass.

Horowitz expected Friday night’s concert, headlined by Widespread Panic, and Saturday night’s concert with Bob Dylan to sell out.

kredding@aspentimes.com

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