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Jazz Aspen cancels 2020 June Experience

Staff report
Cha Wa performing at the opening night of the Jazz Aspen June Experience in 2019 at the Aspen Art Museum. Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Jazz Aspen Snowmass will not host its JAS June Experience in 2020, the nonprofit announced Monday, postponing the four-day, multi-venue downtown music festival to 2021. All of the previously announced artists – the 2020 event was to be headlined by The Family Stone, Cory Henry and Kermit Ruffins – have committed to perform June 24 to 27, 2021.

Tickets will remain on sale for the event based on the new dates.

The remaining Jazz Aspen summer concerts will stay on the calendar, pending review as the COVID-19 public health crisis continues to unfold.

“A decision regarding both the JAS Café summer series and JAS Labor Day Experience will be made at a later date based on new state health regulations regarding gatherings, and, emerging standards in the music industry nationally this summer for concert events of all sizes,” the announcement states. 

The June Experience was the final major event remaining on the calendar for what is normally a festive and event-heavy start to Aspen’s summer season. Its cancellation follows June staples including the Food & Wine Classic, Aspen Ideas Festival, the opening weeks of the Aspen Music Festival and School season and the Theatre Aspen season, along with smaller multi-day happenings like the Aspen Fringe Festival.

“The combination of severe limits on the number of persons who will be allowed to gather once the state of Colorado loosens its Stay at Home mandate and the clear prevailing public health concerns around events and larger gatherings made this decision inevitable,” said Jazz Aspen President and CEO Jim Horowitz. “Though we held out hope for a somewhat smaller event that could help start the healing in our community this summer, we concluded that this process cannot start with June JAS 2020. All the June Artists were in agreement that it would be best to simply look forward to June 2021, so that is our plan.”

In lieu of the public gathering, Jazz Aspen will pivot for the June 25 to 28 weekend and work to present a series of livestreamed home performances and interviews with a combination of artists who were scheduled to be part of the festival and former JAS Academy students.

“We can still connect great artists with our audiences in intimate settings, extending our new ‘JAS In-House’ initiatives of bringing great performances and content to people at home,” said Jazz Aspen senior vice president Andrea Beard. “It’s out mission to ‘keep the music playing’ and now more than ever we need to respond creatively.”

June Experience general admission ticket holders will have the option of transferring their tickets to the 2021 event, receiving a refund for the tickets, or turning their ticket into a donation to JAS’ multiple mission-based programs. All buyers will receive an email this week with instructions on how to move forward.

Buyers of the early discounted “We Trust JAS” Passes purchased in November 2019 will automatically have their tickets transferred to the 2021 Experience unless they would like to donate them. Any ticketholders who choose to donate their ticket value to Jazz Aspen will receive a full tax deduction.

The nonprofit, which has been curating virtual experiences of concerts and home performances during the stay-home period, is planning to launch online education, expanded live streaming of performances and artist interviews, and social platforms in coming days. They are currently offering private lessons for students of all ages virtually through their Pays to Play program, and have instructors working virtually with classes throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. Its JAS In-Schools music education programs are scheduled to operate this fall.

“We are still hopeful that our JAS Café summer series of scheduled shows from July 9 – Aug. 16 will be presented in whole or in part, depending primarily on State of Colorado guidelines in place for summer gatherings,” Horowitz assed. “If we can, we will. The urge to gather is powerful and so is the desire to do so safely.”

More information at jazzaspensnowmass.org and 970-920-4996.


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