Built around a legend: JAS Labor Day Experience features Stevie Nicks | AspenTimes.com

Built around a legend: JAS Labor Day Experience features Stevie Nicks

JAS Labor Day lineup planned around the rock legend Stevie Nicks

Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to The Aspen Times
Stevie Nicks plays JAS Labor Day Sunday.
Courtesy photo

Stevie Nicks has credited Aspen for inspiring her to persevere as a musician; during a creative low in 1974, she spent the winter in town and ended up writing the hit “Landslide.” Yet, she hasn’t played a public show in the area — until now.

Nicks was originally scheduled to perform at Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience in 2020, but the pandemic shut that down. Last year, she postponed her summer tour, including headlining JAS Labor Day, due to the delta variant surge. So, after such a long wait, it’s no wonder the JAS Labor Day lineup was planned around the rock legend.

“Once we knew Stevie was scheduled to be here, we started building the remainder of the program around her,” said JAS president and CEO Jim Horowitz. “It came together over a few months, and we feel it is overall one of the best and deepest lineups we have ever presented at JAS.”

Yet another cancellation, this time from the Black Pumas a couple weeks ago, led to one of JAS Labor Day’s highlights.

“We were very lucky to be able to secure St. Paul & the Broken Bones in mid-August when we learned that the Black Puma’s were cancelling their remaining 2022 tour dates,” he said. “The Bones gave one of the truly unforgettable debut performances in the history of JAS in 2017 and have only gotten bigger and better since. Every band on this year’s bill is great but having secured the Bones at the last minute is a definite JAS highlight of 2022.”

This year’s festival, which includes Leon Bridges and St. Paul & the Broken Bones Friday, Chris Stapleton, Zack Bryan and Patrick Droney Saturday and Nicks, Little Big Town and Marc Broussard Sunday, sold out its VIP and three-day passes — as well as most of its general admission daily tickets, except for some Friday night shows — in mid-June, something “completely unprecedented in our 30-plus year history,” Horowitz said. In the past, the 10,000-capacity Snowmass Town Park has sold out by mid- to late-August.

Chris Stapleton plays JAS Labor Day Saturday.

“We believe it is a mix of general pent-up demand for live concerts in the post-COVID world, along with a great artist lineup and the evolution of an event that has spanned generations of listeners through the years, many of whom consider attending an annual ritual they do not want to miss,” he said. “It feels like JAS is on the calendar as a traditional happening that people just look forward to year in and year out.”

In addition to main stage music, JAS Village stage features a complete lineup of Fort Worth, Texas musicians, including Matthew McNeal, Squeezebox Bandits and Lorena Leigh, as part of this year’s marketing collaboration between JAS and Visit Fort Worth. The theme was inspired by the headline performance of R&B superstar Leon Bridges, a native of Fort Worth.

Leon Bridges
Courtesy photo

“It’s gonna be a heavy dose of Texas-flavored music on Friday for sure,” Horowitz said.

While Horowitz describes JAS Labor Day as “a big-feeling festival when you are there, but in truth, with a capacity of 10,000 people, it’s kind of a boutique event (that) has a certain intimacy because no matter where you are on the site, it feels personal and manageable,” he does recommend that if being closer to the stage matters to you, “arrive early, period.” That means arrive before the doors open.

Then, get ready for a diverse-music-loving community in a beautiful mountain setting.

“It’s like a kind a tribal gathering built around music,” Horowitz said. “We have been around long enough that we now have a great mix of longtime locals who come year after year, as well as a healthy number of newer transplants to the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s really taken on a life of its own.”

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