Neil Young, Tom Petty to headline Labor Day Fest
Last year’s Labor Day Festival was a peak experience for Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the 12-year-old local music presenter.The festival was capped by the first-ever Aspen appearance by Bob Dylan, whom Jazz Aspen had been pursuing for years, and also featured crowd-pleasing sets from Willie Nelson, Phil Lesh & Friends, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The one-time-only setting at the base of Buttermilk Mountain worked like a charm, and the four-day festival brought in record crowds.This year’s bash is poised to make Labor Day 2002 a faint memory. Jazz Aspen announced yesterday that Neil Young and Tom Petty, two more acts that have long been in festival officials’ sights, are set to headline the festival. Petty and his long-running band, the Heartbreakers, will play Aug. 30, and Young will perform with his own longstanding backing outfit, Crazy Horse, on Aug. 31. The festival, returning to expanded grounds at the bottom of Snowmass Village, is set for Aug. 29 through Sept. 1.Other highlights of the festival include sets by Ivory Coast reggae singer Alpha Blondy, who closed the 2001 Labor Day Festival; San Diego groove band the Greyboy Allstars, who broke up in 1997 and are playing just three U.S. shows on their reunion tour; country singer Clint Black, making an exclusive Colorado appearance; and bluesman Bo Diddley, perhaps the only musician with a musical riff named after him.Other main-stage acts include bluegrass mandolinist Sam Bush, Colorado’s Leftover Salmon and Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel. The JAS After Dark series of club gigs will feature jazz guitarist Russell Malone, roots rock/r&b group Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, and funk bands Papa Grows Funk and Topaz.Of the stars of the classic rock era of the 1960s and ’70s, few have been as enduring, prolific and feisty as Young and Petty.Young, a Canadian native who emerged in the mid-’60s Los Angeles scene with Buffalo Springfield, has been perhaps the most consistent presence at the top of the rock ‘n’ roll universe. His albums have ranged from acoustic-flavored, country-rock masterpieces to garage-scented rock efforts with Crazy Horse, from early experiments with computerized music to his classic rock recordings as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. His most recent album, last year’s “Are You Passionate,” featured collaborations with soul band Booker T & the MGs. Last year’s biography “Shaky” offered an extensive look at the idiosyncratic Young.The Florida-born Petty arrived with the 1979 album “Damn the Torpedoes” and the hit songs “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Refugee.” He has remained a consistent rock hitmaker, with such albums as “Full Moon Fever” and “Into the Great Wide Open.” His 2002 album “The Last DJ” was a sharp jab at the greed and loss of creativity in the current rock world.[Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is email@example.com]
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After nine months of being shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Wheeler Opera House will reopen for local acts. A touchless reservation system will be open to 53 people for in-person at the venue. Online live streaming also will be available.