Kravitz out, Franti in for Jazz Aspen Labor Day Fest |

Kravitz out, Franti in for Jazz Aspen Labor Day Fest

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Stewart Oksenhorn/Aspen Times fileMichael Franti, pictured at the 2009 Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival, will return to the 2011 Labor Day Festival, replacing Lenny Kravitz.

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – For its upcoming summer season, Jazz Aspen Snowmass was determined to present artists new to its festivals, and to book acts that would attract a younger audience. Count Jazz Aspen down one new face, but coming out ahead in bringing in the youth crowd. And they get a Colorado exclusive to boot.

Jazz Aspen announced on Tuesday that Lenny Kravitz canceled his scheduled appearance at September’s Labor Day Festival. It would have been the valley debut by the 46-year-old singer-guitarist, whose biggest hits came in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Replacing Kravitz in the lineup for Sunday, Sept. 4, is singer Michael Franti, who has played the Labor Festival twice, most recently in 2009. Franti, who is 46, had his biggest hit with 2009’s “Say Hey (I Love You),” which was also featured last year in a TV beer commercial.

According to Jazz Aspen president Jim Horowitz, Franti’s appearance will be his only performance in Colorado in 2011.

Kravitz, Horowitz said, “postponed his record [“Black and White America”], and then postponed his tour. That’s what happens in this business. He’s not going anywhere, not doing anything.”

Horowitz considers Jazz Aspen to be fortunate on several counts, given the cancellation. Franti’s audience is even more youth-oriented than Kravitz’s, and Franti has proved to be a strong draw in Colorado and in the Roaring Fork Valley. And the notice that Kravitz would not be appearing came in April, not August.

“At least it’s five months away, not three weeks. Or four days, which has happened to us,” Horowitz said.

Other acts scheduled to appear at the Labor Day Festival include Steely Dan, Rodrigo y Gabriela and the Zac Brown Band, all making their valley debuts, as well as Girl Talk, Thievery Corporation and Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses. The festival is set for Sept. 2-4 at Snowmass Town Park.