Group plans X Games dance party at old Aspen Art Museum |

Group plans X Games dance party at old Aspen Art Museum

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

Despite an initial “no” from the City Manager’s Office, the Aspen City Council has given the green light to a group planning a two-night dance party at the old Aspen Art Museum during X Games weekend, which could see as many as 400 people attend.

Reuben Sadowsky and Joey Stokes, of Gravity Productions, are still seeking an agreement with the art museum and solidifying details with various city departments, but Sadowsky said if all goes to plan, attendees can expect an event similar to last year’s “Super Dope, Semi-Secret Dance Party You Can Probably Get Into,” an event they hosted at the Aspen Business Center.

This year’s party, which will include a DJ, artists, dancers and alcohol sales, is tentatively scheduled to run from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Jan. 23 and 24.

Assistant City Manager Barry Crook said Tuesday that when he first discussed the proposal with City Manager Steve Barwick, the consensus was that the party didn’t justify the neighborhood impact, but they told Sadowsky’s group that the Aspen City Council might see it differently.

On Monday, the council discussed and approved the prospect of a “rager” in the city-owned space, with Mayor Steve Skadron grilling the applicant.

“I see this as a threshold event that reflects on everything you’re interested in doing in this town for the next decade,” Skadron told Sadowsky. “This can make you or break you. I want to make sure you know what you’re asking for.”

“We want the community to ask us to do these events for the next 10 years,” Sadowsky said.

On Tuesday, Sadowsky said his group plans to push for more community events in the future. Citing production experience at events like Nevada’s Burning Man, Sadowsky said his group hopes to organize a major music festival in the area next summer.

For the Mill Street party, the group is in the process of acquiring a liquor license, a special-use permit through the Community Development Department and submitting information required in a special-events application.

“They’ve got to provide us with information that assures us that the building is going to be treated right and the neighborhood is going to be treated right,” Crook said.

On Tuesday, Gravity representatives met with the art museum, which is currently leasing the property from the city and is ultimately responsible for the event. Museum spokesman Jeff Murcko said the organization is reviewing plans and expects a decision in the near future.

“We still have a lease on that building, so everything has to be vetted pretty carefully,” Murcko said. “We’re just crossing our T’s, dotting our I’s and making sure that we understand what they’re asking of us before we give a final response.”

Skadron said the beauty of the event is Sadowsky’s local ties, as he is an Aspen High School graduate. It’s good to see locals reinvesting their talents into the community, Skadron said.

“On one hand, it sounds like a great idea,” Councilwoman Ann Mullins said Monday. “On the other hand, there are quite a few things you need to look at to make sure it’s okay with the community and neighborhood.”

Sadowksy stressed that they are not throwing a “normal rager, Red Bull, go-for-it party” but rather one that will include intellectual stimulants through art and education. He added that organizers have their own decibel readers, which they will use to maintain noise levels.

“I think the noise is something that would need to be important to handle, as long as you guys are aware that it could turn into a problem at the risk of being shut down,” Councilman Adam Frisch said. “But I think it’s interesting to explore.”

Skadron asked Councilman Art Daily how he feels about “a rager at the art museum.”

“I’m up for it,” Daily said, adding that parking is one of his concerns.

Sadowksy said that like last year’s “Super Secret” dance party, the event will include a shuttle for attendees. In 2013, the event reached a 350-person capacity both nights, and Sadowksy said he anticipates 400 this year, though that will be subject to Aspen Fire Marshall review.

“We are almost, I would say, aggressively pushing for these events that support our community and support a vibrant young culture here,” Sadowsky said. “We feel like there are few places for that culture to be seen within Aspen, even though it’s very much a part of it.”