Labor Day Fest – Friday & Saturday |

Labor Day Fest – Friday & Saturday

Story and pictures by May Eynon

As always, Janus Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ 2004 Labor Day Festival was a welcome series of live music. The four-day fest featured rock, funk, blues, reggae, r & b and more from world-class musicians. Set at the Snowmass Village Town Park, bands performed on the main stage and side stages, as well as drumming circles around the festival grounds.

As crowds lined up to enter the park on Friday evening, a double rainbow arched over Brush Creek Road. Donavon Frankenreiter opened up the show as fans anxiously attempted to go through the gates. Due to the overwhelming number of concertgoers in line, it took up to an hour for many people to enter. By the time G. Love & Special Sauce took the stage, the crowd was better contained. Jack Johnson’s mellow medley of reggae-infused beats was well-received by a sea of fans. After a great set, Johnson invited Frankenreiter and G. Love back on stage to join him for several closing songs.Saturday was a different story, with tempestuous weather throughout the day. Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen were able to belt out a set before the weather really hit hard. Rumors flowed around the festival site that David Byrne and Sheryl Crow would be canceled. Concertgoers took to the tents around the park to hear bands such as Animal Liberation Orchestra from California and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes from New Orleans. Both bands’ lively sounds helped everyone forget how wet it was outside.

Fortunately, the clouds eventually lifted to reveal snowcapped peaks and the main acts were able to perform as anticipated. In his only Colorado appearance, Byrne took the stage for an abbreviated set with members of his group, The Tosca Strings. Missing several musicians from his band due to the weather, Byrne played a slew of Talking Heads tunes, opening the show with a ramblin’ rendition of “On the road to nowhere.”

Headliner Sheryl Crow arrived onstage after a sketchy flight rerouted her entourage to Denver, where it continued by shuttle to Snowmass. “I’m just happy to be on the ground with y’all,” she exclaimed. Droves of fans flocked to the main stage to see their favorite musician perform for the first time at the festival.”Sheryl Crow has a place in my life,” said Jenny Moore of Denver. “People may mock her for being too mainstream, but I’ve always loved her music.”

Nine-year-old Mackenzie Small of Carbondale claims to listen to Sheryl Crow every single day. “I listen to her in the car, I listen to her in my room, I love Sheryl Crow.”

Following Crow’s set, concertgoers filtered into the JAS After Dark auditoriums in Snowmass Village. From Soulive to the subdudes to the Assembly of Dust, the pulse kept throbbing. JAS After Dark is all about “great bands and small venues,” said Jim Horowitz, JAS executive producer.To be continued …

To contact May to send info, insight or invites, e-mail