Jazz Aspen Snowmass ends silver season on a high note
The Aspen Times
Jazz Aspen Snowmass ended its 25th anniversary on a high note.
This year’s JAS Labor Day Experience sold a record number of three-day passes and patron tickets, according to Jazz Aspen Snowmass President Jim Horowitz, who’s missed only one Labor Day festival in his 25 years because of a 104-degree fever.
Horowitz also said he received “probably the best overall feedback” of any Labor Day weekend event in JAS history.
“I always love the event; they really do such a wonderful job, and I thought this year was even better organized than last year,” resident Katherine Sand said. “The transport, the food, the variety, everything. … It was all so spectacular and particularly well-done this year.”
Horowitz said the Labor Day festival’s attendance this year was pretty similar to last year’s. However, this year was different in that all three days were equally popular.
Sunday night — the festival’s finale — was the most popular night overall, though attendance for the rest of the weekend wasn’t far behind.
Around 8,500 attended Saturday’s show, while at least 9,200 attended Sunday’s performance, Horowitz said.
Traditionally, there can be some discrepancy between attendance on individual nights, depending on the performer, Horowitz said.
Last year’s Earth, Wind & Fire and OneRepublic concerts, for instance, had a notably greater turnout than any other night.
“It changes year to year — there’s absolutely no pattern,” he said, adding that the organization was very pleased overall with this year’s turnout — especially in spite of “a near weather catastrophe.”
While the festival has experienced rain in previous years, Horowitz said Friday night’s lightning evacuation was the first weather evacuation the event has seen throughout its 25-year history.
Joan Valentine said the weather didn’t bother her because she was prepared for it, having lived in Aspen for 22 years.
Valentine said one of the best things about the JAS Labor Day event is the blind-faith pass offered early to locals.
“I hope they never stop that,” she said. “It’s such an amazing deal.”
Sand said her favorite part of the festival this year was Sunday’s family-friendly band.
“That’s often children’s first exposure to such wonderful music, and I just think it’s heaven — truly, one of the best things about living here,” Sand said. “I love it.”
Going forward, Horowitz said this year’s Labor Day Experience set the bar very high, adding that JAS’ greatest challenge every year is to maintain the same level of artistic excellence.
As JAS looks toward the future, in addition to growing its programs, the organization hopes to assemble the funding to bring back the JAS Academy, a scholarship program for gifted musicians.
“There’s really nothing else like it in the country,” Horowitz said.
JAS Academy operated for 12 years from 1996 to 2008 but had to shut down when the economy went into the recession, Horowitz said.
Up next, the organization is preparing for its JAS Cafe winter series downstairs at The Little Nell. Nine artists will perform nine concerts from December though March.
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