Aspen Winter X Games may add music and more to venue | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Winter X Games may add music and more to venue

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

The 2015 Winter X Games return to Buttermilk Ski Area in January with a few new twists to add to the culture of the games. ESPN is proposing to add three days of music at the Buttermilk venue, with beer and wine available during the concerts.

"Music is a part of the culture and lifestyle of action sports," said Vanessa Anthes, the associate director for event management with Global X Events at ESPN. "That's the next step we're taking to give them a full broad scope of that lifestyle and that culture."

The concerts at Buttermilk would take the place of the shows held at Wagner Park in recent years. A limit of two beers and/or glasses of wine would be available to people within the concert venue only.

ESPN also is considering adding a fireworks show at the end of the second night's concert.

Pitkin County Planner Mike Kraemer said ESPN has already submitted its major special-event permit application with Pitkin County. He said ESPN would need variances from the county for noise levels at the concerts and permission from the Sheriff's Office, the local fire district and the county manager's office for the fireworks show and have the liquor board convene to grant a liquor permit.

Anthes said she was looking for direction from the county commissioners at their work session Tuesday before moving forward to submit permits and book talent.

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"Based on the feedback received, we will continue with our plan of three days of concerts," Anthes said. "On Saturday, there will be two concerts; there'll be a midday concert and an evening concert. Our next steps will be to work with (Aspen Skiing Co.), making sure they're comfortable with our plan, then reach out and secure talent for the concerts."

The commissioners brought up safety concerns with people drinking at the shows and crossing Highway 82 as well as concert noise that carries from Buttermilk into surrounding communities. Anthes said the noise issues could be dealt with by arranging the direction of the stage to minimize any sound impacts away from the venue.

Brad Gibson, director of investigations for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, said the crowds at last year's X Games concerts at Wagner Park were quiet and well-behaved. He said ESPN works closely with the Colorado State Patrol to keep the intersections around the event safe, especially for pedestrians.

Anthes said ESPN would work with the community and offer public outreach if it does move forward with a fireworks show.

"The county's primary concern is public safety, as is ESPN's," Anthes said. "There have been a lot of great suggestions from the county, like the non-concussive fireworks. We don't want to create any public-safety issue for anyone. We want this to be an enjoyable experience for those attending the event as well as those who choose not to attend the event."

mmclaughlin@aspentimes.com