Jazz Aspen Labor Day festival breaks attendance record
September 2, 2008
SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” This past weekend’s Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival broke overall attendance records with 36,700 people over five days.
Friday’s headliner Widespread Panic and their openers ” the New Mastersounds and Xavier Rudd ” attracted the most people with 10,500 tickets sold.
Saturday’s show featuring Bob Dylan and Ziggy Marley brought 10,200 festivalgoers to Snowmass Town Park, where the event was held from Thursday to Monday.
Thursday’s lineup of Global Noize and Widespread Panic attracted 7,100 people. Sunday’s Dwight Yoakam and John Fogerty lineup had 6,300 people, and Labor Day’s headliner Yonder Mountain String Band brought 2,600 people, according to Jim Horowitz, executive director of Jazz Aspen Snowmass.
This year’s attendance record beat out last year’s number of 33,000, which had been the festival record.
Last year, The Allman Brothers Band, Spearhead and Leftover Salmon drew the record crowd in a single day, with 12,000 people. As a result, the venue was maxed out, and people waited in lines for food and drink for more than an hour. Lines for the bathroom seemed just as long.
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Recognizing the venue’s limitations, Horowitz said planners reduced the total capacity this year to 11,000, and reconfigured the festival grounds to make traffic flow easier. Additional bar stations and bartenders were added. There also were significantly more bathrooms this year, which were lined up along Brush Creek Road.
Horowitz estimates by moving the portable toilets to the road and moving some tents, about 10 percent more space was added to the venue.
While some festivalgoers complained that the bathrooms were farther away than what they were accustomed to, Horowitz said the feedback he received was positive.
“The site was obviously very comfortable,” he said. “It was definitely full but comfortable.”
Typically the Labor Day festival is four days but it was extended another day for headliner Widespread Panic. In 2005, when Panic headlined and the event was pushed to five days, attendance was 32,000 people.
This year’s crowds were peaceful, with no violence and few arrests.
Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputy Ann Stephenson said there was one DUI over the weekend, but she wasn’t sure if it was related to the festival. Snowmass Village police issued one DUI to a driver leaving the concert parking area, said Snowmass Police Chief Art Smythe.
Stephenson said a fight between two women broke out at the intercept lot after they got off a bus Sunday night. No arrests were made, but the sheriff’s office is still investigating, Stephenson said.
She noted that there were quite a few campers at the intercept lot Thursday night. They were allowed to stay and didn’t cause any problems, Stephenson said.
Snowmass Village police made a couple of arrests and summoned a few people for various crimes, including possession of marijuana and trespassing.
Two people were issued summons for deceptive use of a facility ” one for entering the concert without a ticket and another man who tried to enter the patron section with someone else’s wristband. The charge carries a possible fine of $150.
Horowitz said many festivalgoers commented on the daytime performances ” notably Tift Merritt and the New Mastersounds.
“I got really positive feedback on the openers and of course, the big guns delivered big shows,” he said. “All in all, it was a good festival.”