Aspen Skiing Co. eyes March music festival

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co. wants to host a large-scale three-day music festival in Wagner Park at the beginning of March 2011 to boost business during what has become a slower part of the season, city and Skico officials said Wednesday.

“It would be an economic driver for the whole town,” said Jeff Hanle, Skico spokesman.

Depending on snowfall amounts, the Skico may have to truck in extra snow to protect the grass on the Wagner Park field, said Tom Rubel, the operations manager for the city Parks Department. The company has filed an application with the city.

While that would be a challenge for the park, which is normally closed for grass rehabilitation from the end of March to anytime between mid-April and June, it’s a workable goal, Rubel said.

“It can work, probably, without doing too much damage to the grass,” he said.

Hanle said trucking in snow would be a possibility for Skico.

“Whatever we need to do, we’ll work with the Parks Department,” he said.

Skico officials will present the application to the City Council on Monday. If the council approves the festival, anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people are expected to attend. A 60-by-50-foot stage on a trailer would face Aspen Mountain. Beer would be served during the concert.

Tickets would cost $50 a day.

The musical acts would be national, targeting an audience of “people who would not have come here otherwise,” Hanle said, citing a need for a more robust Aspen ski scene during that time of the year.

“March is not what it used to be,” he said.

The Skico is planning to produce a price package for event attendees coming from out of town that will include a flight, lodging, tickets to the event and ski passes during the weekend.