New Carbondale venue PAC3 not just for music

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado
Richard SeedorfA graphic rendering of the PAC3 performing arts center, scheduled to open in May in Carbondale's Third Street Center.

CARBONDALE – Josh Behrman has become known as the music and festival man, the event producer behind the Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brewfest, the Snowmass Culinary and Arts Festival, the Bluegrass Sundays series on top of Aspen Mountain, and more. But with PAC3, a new venue he is opening inside Carbondale’s Third Street Center, Behrman wants people to think beyond music and festivals. And he wants people to know that it’s not just his show – that the space is wide open for community use.”It’s a multi-use theater, so it’s not just music,” Behrman said. “If someone from the community wants to use it, they can use it for anything. They can use it for a bar mitzvah. We plan on being available to the community, to all the nonprofits, to the tenants at Third Street.”All that said, PAC3 is set to open with a music concert, produced in-house. The venue is scheduled to open May 29 with a performance by singer/songwriter and guitarist Bruce Cockburn and his band, with violinist and singer Jenny Scheinman opening. Cockburn, a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, released his 31st studio album, “Small Source of Comfort,” on Tuesday.According to Behrman, PAC3 will hold 360 audience members for a seated concert, and 540 for a general admission event. By comparison, the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen seats 503.”I don’t think there’s a venue of this size that can offer what we can offer,” Behrman said, referring specifically to the Carbondale area. “It can be used for day conferences, and concerts at night.”Behrman said the opening of PAC3 – which will have both for-profit and not-for-profit operations – does not mean he will scale back his other events. Through his Mountain Groove Productions, he will continue to produce the Chili Pepper & Brewfest and present concerts at the Wheeler. He is the operations manager of the new EMU Eco-Music Festival, which is set to debut in June in Snowmass Village. But he said he is looking forward to helping Carbondale – home to such events as the 5Point Film Festival, Mountain Fair, and this weekend’s Green Is the New Black Eco-Fashion Show – cement its growing reputation as a cultural hub.”Carbondale is already thriving – what the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities and the other nonprofits have done,” he said. “There’s a new brewery, a new Indian restaurant. I’m just happy to be part of the momentum.”Exactly what PAC3 will add to that momentum, Behrman isn’t certain. A visit to the space last week showed that it currently looks as much like the school gymnasium it once was as the performing arts center it will be come late May.”It’s new; we haven’t explored all our options,” Behrman, who will manage the for-profit end, while Amy Kimberly, of the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, will handle the non-profit arm. “There’s so much potential, so many options once we open. It’s going to be exciting to see how this progresses and matures.”