No Harmony at Buttermilk
The Harmony Festival, Aspen’s mid-summer rock concert, will not be held at Buttermilk this year under any circumstances, Pitkin County commissioners decided yesterday.
With an informal 3-2 vote, the commissioners told the festival’s new management team that the base of Buttermilk is off-limits, because highway construction will be in full swing all summer in that area.
Festival organizers said they would continue looking for an alternative site in the area, but would not rule out relocating the festival to another ski resort.
“We’re going to look hard for another site. This show is a benefit to the valley and its younger generation. I don’t want to move it to another resort just because nothing is going on there,” said festival organizer Jeffrey Halferty.
The Harmony Festival was first held three years ago at the base of Buttermilk. It has grown from a decidedly local affair attracting just a few thousand people to a major event featuring nationally renowned bands and drawing mostly 20- and 30-something concertgoers from around the West.
Festival founder Paul Levine and his financial backers, Rob and Steve Murdoch, drew sharp criticism last summer after hundreds, maybe thousands more attendees than expected set up camp in a field next to the venue and parked their cars along the side of Highway 82.
Halferty said Levine and the Murdochs are no longer in the picture, either as organizers or backers. Financial support is now coming from Eric Casper, a local restaurant/ bar owner; and concert management has been given to a Front Range firm that apparently manages similar shows at Telluride, Steamboat, Copper and Winter Park.
Halferty and his cohorts have their work cut out for them in finding a new venue here. Levine told the commissioners last week that he spent much of the winter looking, without any luck.
Commissioner Mick Ireland suggested the Woody Creek race track; Patti Clapper suggested Sunlight ski area outside Glenwood Springs.
Clapper and Ireland were willing to consider giving the show another try at Buttermilk. Commissioners Leslie Lamont, Shellie Harper and Dorothea Farris rejected use of the Buttermilk venue this summer.
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.