An epic thank-you
During an epic weekend like this year’s Labor Day weekend festival, with record crowds, perfect weather, great performances and abundant smiles, I am lucky enough to walk around the festival grounds and receive enough handshakes and kudos to last forever and a day. My message to everyone who has been so gracious in expressing appreciation for the Jazz Aspen Snowmass festivals is the following:
Many years ago, I was just one guy with an idea. There were lots of ups and downs along the way, but in recent times, it seems the festival has slipped into a much higher gear. There is a very simple explanation for this, and everyone who loves this festival should really know and understand this. JAS’ success has everything to do the quality of the people who are working tirelessly on a year-round basis to raise the bar on the experience at every level. WE ARE A TEAM. I am the quarterback. Nobody talented at my position ever achieved greatness unless surrounded by great support. And we have it here at JAS in spades.
There are eight individuals on the core JAS staff who never stop, year round. Marc Breslin, Joe Lang, Andrea Beard, Cindy Kahn, Mindy Van Moorsel, Jennica Lundin, Dylan Sage. They are stars one and all, and their attention to detail and dedication to perfection is nothing short of amazing. They are the best staff any nonprofit arts organization could hope to have.
The operations/production crew is led by another group of crack professionals including Jeremy Kowalis, site manager, and Paul Jessop, tech director, who make the site hum so smoothly that the most world-weary traveling musicians consistently tell us that JAS is simply the best run festival in the world. There are some richly deserved kudos here, so how about a hand for production. They are the best!
Finally, there is an incredibly dedicated and generous board of directors for JAS, and without this group, and their ongoing commitments of time, resources and real passion for the enterprise, it would be impossible for us to both keep things going and continually “raise the bar.” Their love for JAS is kind of astonishing, really. Everyone who appreciates JAS should be thanking their friend who is a member of our board. And thank them again, and maybe take them to dinner and pick up the check!
Words don’t really convey the full extent of what all these wonderful people actually do. Thanks for the handshakes and smiles, but please, spread them around to the members of JAS, without whom I’d still just be a guy with a dreamy idea. Everyone deserves to be thanked for doing a fantastic job. And the achievement, really, is a collective one. The whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
P.S.: A big thank-you to all the members of the public who purchased tickets to the festival, showing their support of live music, and our generous patrons for their contributions to help sustain JAS.
Founder and executive producer
Jazz Aspen Snowmass