Aspen Skiing Co. pulls plug on Snow Beats festival |

Aspen Skiing Co. pulls plug on Snow Beats festival

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co.’s proposed late-winter music festival, scheduled to make its debut this year, has been canceled for this season.

The festival, planned for March 3-5 in Wagner Park, was to be called Snow Beats. Skico expects to launch the event next year instead.

Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the debut of Snow Beats was postponed due to the relatively late approval of the event, and the consequent difficulty in booking suitable acts to perform. Aspen City Council approved the application in late August, and as Skico began trying to assemble a lineup, they found that the acts they could book weren’t big enough to draw the kinds of crowds they were looking for, and the acts they wanted to present were no longer available.

“Timing and booking bands just wasn’t working for us,” Hanle said. “The bands we were able to get just weren’t at the level we wanted to get. National-caliber acts make their schedules far in advance, and we just couldn’t get them to swing through.”

Hanle declined to mention what bands were pursued. But he did say that the acts they envisioned for Snow Beats had audiences that skewed younger than the usual Jazz Aspen Snowmass crowd, but that did not draw crowds primarily of young teens.

“We were looking for people who live in other ski resorts, people from Denver,” Hanle said. “And it was meant to be a draw, to bring in people who wouldn’t normally come here. It was meant for people who would fly in to ski, and say, ‘What a great weekend.'”

Estimates made last summer in meetings with City Council about the size of the crowds pegged attendance at between 3,000 and 5,000 people. A 60-by-50 foot stage was envisioned.

Hanle said that Skico decided against launching Snow Beats with a lowered set of expectations. “Everyone here is a little bummed about this,” he said. “But we didn’t want to start this thing and not do it justice. We want to do it, and do it right. We’re not done with the idea. We’re going to continue to work toward putting it on next year.”

Ironically, the cancellation probably comes too late to salvage the weekend of March 3-5 for another concert presenter, the Wheeler Opera House. Skico’s proposal for Snow Beats included renting out the Wheeler, adjacent to Wagner Park, for event logistics.

“It would be very, very hard to book the Wheeler now, at this point,” Gram Slaton, executive director of the Wheeler, said.

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