One month in, Fanny Hill concerts get “two thumbs up” |

One month in, Fanny Hill concerts get “two thumbs up”

Return of Thursday night concerts has been a hit, organizers say

Children dance and listen as Miss Mojo, a funk band from New Orleans, performs a free concert on Sunday, July 4, 2021, on Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Don Chaney is coming up on a decade and a half of summers spent introducing bands and signing off at the end of the night at the free Thursday night concerts on Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village.

The Roaring Fork Valley local has spent even longer attending these sorts of events, tallying up years of experience as a radio host and live events producer. (He’s now a manager at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park downvalley, in addition to the Snowmass concert gig.)

You could say Chaney has a pretty good sense, then, of the year-over-year vibe on Fanny Hill. After last year’s pandemic hiatus, the first month and four performances back has felt pretty darn good, he said in an interview near the stage before the bonus Fourth of July concert.

“It’s different this time around,” he said, with eager audiences and a “kinder” energy among performers who aren’t taking this year for granted. (Not to say that the stage wasn’t a kind place before, he clarified, just that this year feels especially so.)

“It’s great and obviously the audience thinks so too — the crowds have just been massive,” he said.

As far as audience size goes, the crowds are about as big as Chaney has ever seen, and he’s documented around five dozen Fanny Hill performances with photos looking out from the stage that he can compare with this year.

Snowmass Tourism director Rose Abello said that while the department doesn’t keep an official head count on the concerts, attendance has been solid, with the first concert of the year showing a particularly strong turnout and subsequent shows drawing numbers in what she considers the normal range. (There was one exception with more of a smattering of concertgoers June 24, when Hazel Miller’s performance was ultimately canceled due to lightning and inclement weather.)

Abello’s review of how things are going so far?

“I’m going to give it two thumbs up,” she said.

“We’ve always known that it’s one of the things that we do that’s, let’s say, a community favorite,” Abello said.

Emails, phone calls and comments from attendees have proven that, she said; Snowmass Tourism has felt the enthusiastic response from concertgoers who missed the live music series last year when COVID-19 put the kibosh on large-scale events.

“They’re just pumped that the concerts are back,” Abello said.

As for public health protocols, some COVID-minded changes could stick around for the long run since they seem to be popular so far, like the designated aisles and walkways that make it easier for people to navigate the venue, Abello said.

Other pandemic precautions that were announced in May have already gone by the wayside, like the “no dance floor” rule that got scrapped as restrictions rapidly eased this spring. (There may not be a floor, per se, but there has been plenty of joyous dancing near the stage during each of the four concerts so far.)

On the parking front — a perennial logistic component of the concerts — the numbered lots have been “pretty darn close to capacity or considered full,” according to Snowmass Village Transportation Director David Peckler.

Base Village has been filling up quite a bit, too, which is why he reiterated the message that the best bet is to park at Town Park and ride the bus to the concerts, he said.

That will be especially pertinent now; parking crews have started to reserve Lot 3 and Lot 12 for lodging guests who arrive in town Thursday nights or return from a night out and about only to find that the parking lots are already packed.

“There is a little bit more pressure on the numbered lots and a little less access for the public,” Peckler said.

That said, Peckler’s crews won’t ticket or tow cars left overnight in the numbered lots or Town Park so long as the vehicles aren’t abandoned there. For concertgoers who have had a bit too much of the kind of fun that’s quantifiable by volume (er, more alcohol to drink than is safe to drive), the bus is always an option and town staff want to ensure everybody gets home safe.

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