Music on the Mountain Again
Pop-up concerts are back for the 2021-22 season
If you were looking for silver linings in the odd experience of the pandemic ski season of 2020-21, one of the clearest was the addition of the Music on the Mountain pop-up concerts on the local hills.
Starting in January, Aspen Skiing Co. began staging surprise ski-up daytime concerts. Made to be COVID-safe, the shows were situated near chairlifts and designed not to attract crowds, but instead to entertain skiers and snowboarders as they pass by or load a chairlift.
It was a surprise and a welcome shot of simple festive fun in a winter that, for most people, was full of stress and strain. Simply sliding up and watching DJ Naka G or DJ Mayfly on the elevated stage while navigating the line maze at Ajax Express was reason to smile and to celebrate the gift of being able to ski amid the international public health crisis. Seeing members of Thievery Corporation and Ghost Light jamming beside the Village Express was a high point. Mostly on Fridays and Saturdays in the middle of the day, the bands and DJs kept appearing unannounced – at the Alpine Springs lift, at the Cliffhouse at Buttermilk and at Elk Camp.
Along with the unique (and exceedingly rare a year ago) ability to see a little live music, the series also provided paying gigs for musicians at a time when there were none elsewhere to be had.
The series is back this year with at least two events scheduled to help celebrate opening days, bringing shows to both Aspen Mountain and Snowmass Ski Area on Thanksgiving Day, then to the Merry-Go-Round at Aspen Highlands on Dec. 12.
And, as public health restrictions have loosened over the past year of pandemic life, Skico also is bringing back its long-standing tradition of base area concerts at the Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert series. A long time coming, as there hasn’t been one since the Feb. 25, 2020 Mardi Gras concert from the Soul Rebels at Snowmass Base Village (had we known this frigid night of music and fireworks would be our last for so long, many of us would likely have savored it more).
The Hi-Fi show have mostly shifted later this year, centering around spring break and late season days. None of the artists have been announced.
The first one back, fittingly, will be a Mardi Gras show at Base Village on Fat Tuesday, March 1. That’s followed by a March 26 show a the base of Aspen Mountain on March 26 and the return of Skico’s Core Party – normally a large event with a top-tier headliner that closes the streets and sets up a stage on Paradise Corner – on April 2.
The biggest outdoor winter concerts of the year, the X Games music festival at Buttermilk, are off the schedule this year as ESPN brings vaccinated fans back into the venue. So we’ll have to wait another year before we can go back to the days of 10,000 kids dancing in the snow on Panda Peak, but we’ll be able to keep warm with Music on the Mountain and the return of the Hi-Fi shows, and that’s a start.
Nov. 25 – Music on the Mountain, Ajax & Snowmass
Dec. 12 – Music on the Mountain, Highlands
March 1 – Snowmass Mardi Gras Concert, Snowmass
March 26 – Hi-Fi Concert Series, Ajax
April 2 – Core Party, downtown Aspen
April 8 – Hi-Fi Concert Series, Snowmass