Comedy Fest returning to Aspen for 10th year

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival will return to Aspen next year for its 10th anniversary celebration, event organizers said Thursday.

The festival, an Aspen institution, has been scheduled for March 3-7.

“Yeah, it was an easy decision,” said USCAF publicity director Joe Lang. “The lodging community has always been very supportive of this event, as well as the different facilities that we utilize.”

The decision wasn’t always so easy. A few weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, USCAF organizers debated a move to the West Coast. The group cited Aspen’s high prices and secluded locale as motives to relocate to California.

Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, blamed the USCAF’s venue deliberations on the nation’s reluctance to travel after Sept. 11 – and the resulting price hikes among airlines. However, a shift in the airline industry has forced travel providers to drop prices in an effort to win back customers.

“It’s made things more affordable across the board,” he said.

Tomcich said Stay Aspen Snowmass will also continue to develop “consumer-driven” ticket packages that make the festival affordable for average travelers.

“It’s something that many folks within the community work hard to earn – one of the key events for the entire winter that the community relies upon,” he said.

Though a theme for the 2004 festival has not been announced, event founders hint that the lineup will include a larger number of up-and-coming comedians.

“Our first priority is to nurture and support young talent,” said USCAF founder and executive director Stu Smiley in a press release. “Our 10th anniversary will be a celebration of this idea.”

Tickets for the 2004 USCAF will go on sale in October, both online at and the festival box office at 1-800-778-4633.

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