Best of Aspen’s offseason: 11 reasons to stick around for mud season |

Best of Aspen’s offseason: 11 reasons to stick around for mud season

Aspenites have taken to saying that this spring is the first true offseason we’ve had since the pandemic hit and the urban exodus filled town – more than usual, at least — through the normally desolate spring and fall stretches.

Based on the abundance of parking spaces and the sudden dearth of out-of-state plates and the fact that the airport runway is closed, that seems to have held true since Aspen’s extended ski season ended and the snowbirds flew. But for those of us holding down the fort, the live music and arts scenes are giving us some great reasons to stick around and enjoy the breathing room. Right after closing day, we had the singer-songwriter Margo Price headlining Belly Up and a few days later we had an early look at Adam Cayton-Holland’s one-man show “Happy Place” at the Arts Campus at Willits.

Those marked an auspicious start for mud season 2022, which I’m roughly defining as the end of ski season in April to the Aspen Fringe Fest weekend in June. Here are 11 reasons to stick around:

Marcus King Band

Saturday, May 7, Belly Up Aspen

The guitar phenom Marcus King has to be seen live to be believed, fans and critis say. We’ll have our chance Saturday.

‘Wetlands,’ presented by Women’s Voices Theatre Project

Saturday, May 7, Wheeler Opera House

A multi-disciplinary storytelling experience by and about local women using dance, song and other forms to amplify sometimes silenced voices, this may be the most ambitious Voices project yet.


Friday, May 13, TACAW

The singer and songwriter Joel Van Horn, who performs as Covenhoven, is coming home to close out his nearly three-month-long spring tour with a show at TACAW and one in Longmont.


Sunday, May 15, Belly Up Aspen

Kaleo (Courtesy photo)

Who sells out Belly Up in the off-est of offseason? Kaleo does. The Icelandic hit-making rock band – best known for “Way Down We Go” – and frontman JJ Julius Son will have a full house greeting them for one of the most-anticipated music events of the season.

Zoe Keating

Friday, May 20, TACAW

Zoe Keating (Courtesy TACAW)

Classical fans don’t have to wait for the Aspen Music Fest to get their fix this year, as the cellist and composer brings her contemporary style – and electronic touches – to TACAW.

Black Uhuru

Saturday, May 21, Belly Up Aspen

Many things may change around here, but the reliably joyful experience of a reggae show at Belly Up isn’t one of them. The legendary Duckie Simpson and Black Uhuru will pack the house.

‘My Dear Mountains’ & ‘Mountain/Time’

Opening May 27, Aspen Art Museum

Gaetano Pesce’s sculpture will cover the entire museum in a work of public art on a scale Aspen has never seen, while the show inside is a massive collection of global video art that aims to define the form.

Esme Patterson

Friday, May 27, TACAW

The former Paper Bird singer, from Denver, has gone solo with indie folk songs perfectly suited to the intimate Willits venue.

Gary Clark, Jr.

Saturday, May 28 & Sunday, May 29, Belly Up Aspen

The guitar-slinging bluesman has become a regular at Belly Up over the past eight years, but he has yet to slow down or repeat himself. He’s here for two nights headlining the nightlife event of Memorial Day weekend.

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Wednesday, June 1, Belly Up Aspen

Michael Franti (Aspen Times archive)

The return of a beloved tradition going back more than a decade: Franti’s early summer kickoff at Belly Up – his first since the pre-pandemic 2019. Life is better with you, Franti.

Leah Potts, ‘Wild Life’

Opening June 2, Red Brick Center

Leah Potts, “Wild Life” (Courtesy photo)

The artist Leah Potts, who was paralyzed in a ski accident, has found inspiration in nature and has been taking viewers there in her vibrant depictions of wildlife. Her solo show runs through July 8 at the Red Brick, concurrent with the group exhibition “Round and Around.”