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Aspen Ideas Fest tickets go quickly

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
In line for Ideas
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ASPEN – Tickets to Aspen Ideas Festival events went on sale to the general public Monday morning, and the general public was ready. Close to a half-dozen events were sold out or nearly so by noon, but plenty of others still had seats available.

The festival opens June 29 and runs through July 4. Tickets went on sale Monday online, by phone and at the Wheeler Opera House. A small crowd gathered outside the Wheeler some 90 minutes before the doors opened.

The hot ticket, said one hopeful buyer, was anything that remained available.

“I’d say some of the most popular sessions we’ve got going seem to be on the global economy,” said Kitty Boone, vice president of public programs for The Aspen Institute and director of the festival. “It’s on people’s minds.”

Quickly snapped up, for example, were tickets to David Smick’s June 30 breakfast session. The global economic policy strategist is the author of “The World is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy.”

“I didn’t think anybody knew who he was,” Boone said. “When I read about him, I would have gone to it in a second. People know about him.”

Also selling out by noon was historian Niall Ferguson’s July 1 session, “The Ascent of Finance … and the Descent of Democracy,” on putting the current financial crisis in a long-term perspective.

“The End of American Exceptionalism?” on July 2, with Ferguson, David Sanger and Mickey Edwards, also was sold out.

As for the July 1 evening discussion – “Will Obamanomics Work?” – if it’s not sold out, it’s close, Boone said. “It’s the business press, talking about what they see.”

Also sold out or close to it was “1959,” a July 1 lunch discussion with Fred Kaplan, Slate.com columnist and author of “1959: The Year Everything Changed.”

But, attendees shouldn’t be discouraged by an apparent sellout, Boone advised.

Festival passholders are offered the first chance to buy tickets to events, then seats are released for public sale. An additional release of tickets to a session is possible, though, as passholders firm up their choices. It’s also possible to buy a ticket right before an event begins if unsold seats remain. Just show up at the door and see, she said.

“Basically, stay tuned,” Boone said.

Surprising Boone, seats remained available Monday afternoon for David Kennedy’s July 2 presentation, “Water and the Changing Face of the American West,” and playwright David Ives’ July 2 evening appearance, including a presentation of his comic sketch, “Sure Thing.”

Tickets were also still available for a July 2 afternoon of conversation at the Benedict Music Tent with a slate of speakers, including two former U.S. secretaries of state – Madeleine Albright and James A. Baker III.

Go to http://www.aifestival.org for the schedule of public events at this year’s festival, with sessions exploring the national and global economy, justice, the natural environment and the media.

janet@aspentimes.com


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