‘Respectable’ attendance at Jazz Aspen Labor Day fest | AspenTimes.com

‘Respectable’ attendance at Jazz Aspen Labor Day fest

Carolyn SackariasonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

Trent Burkholder/Special to The Aspen TimesThe crowd on Sunday evening at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival in Snowmass Village.

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – This past weekend’s Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival attracted 23,800 people over three days.”Those are very respectable numbers, especially in a recession,” said JAS Executive Director Jim Horowitz. “We didn’t expect to set any records … the whole resort is off.”Saturday’s headliner, Black Eyed Peas, and opening acts Umphrey’s McGee, and Elvis Costello & the Imposters – attracted the most people with 9,200 tickets sold. Sunday’s show featuring the Allman Brothers Band, the Doobie Brothers and the Drive-By Truckers brought in 8,000 people.Friday’s lineup of Citizen Cope, and Michael Franti and Spearhead drew 6,600 people.While the 2009 Labor Day Festival attendance is off from recent years, there was one fewer day of music. JAS officials decided last fall, in light of economic conditions, that Monday would be eliminated from what has been traditionally a four-day event.”We sliced off a day that was marginal, and it was harder and harder to draw a crowd on Mondays even before the economy got bad,” Horowitz said. “Three days felt good and we’ll stick with that until further notice.”He noted that most music festivals are three-day events. Last year, the Labor Day Festival was five days, which included two nights of Widespread Panic. The total attendance last year was 36,700 – breaking the record in attendance from 2007, which attracted 33,000 people.In 2007, the Allman Brothers Band, Spearhead and Leftover Salmon drew the record crowd in a single day, with 12,000 people. Horowitz said because the Allman Brothers played Red Rocks on Saturday, JAS lost a sizable portion of its Denver visitors.Tickets on Saturday and Sunday were $75, and Friday’s show was $45. The prices were $5 more than last year.Blind Faith tickets – which sold for $125 before the June or Labor Day lineups were announced, and gave holders access to both festivals – sold out again this year. Horowitz said 500 Blind Faith tickets were sold.Patron tickets also sold well, which Horowitz said was encouraging since donations fell off this year. Many people still supported the festival financially by paying higher ticket prices. Silver Patron passes sold for $1,250 and Gold Patron passes sold for $1,750. Silver Patron single-day tickets were $450 and Gold Patron tickets were $550.Based on the feedback he got from people during the shows, Horowitz said people were excited about the performances, especially the sets by Michael Franti and Black Eyed Peas because the music was uplifting and had positive messages.”It was fun and people appreciated that,” he said. “It’s been a tough year for everyone.”What Horowitz also noticed was the diversity of the crowd for Black Eyed Peas. There were more kids than ever before, which is a nod to a band that can attract 13-year-olds and 60-year-olds, he said.The weather cooperated for the most part, except for a light sprinkle before Friday’s show which produced a full rainbow over the venue, and the moon shined bright all three nights.When asked what the highlight was for him, Horowitz said: “The highlight for me was getting through 2009.”We survived a tumultuous year and both festivals came off well,” he said. “We maintained a level of quality and were able to hold onto our core audience.”Horowitz said the success of this year’s festival is not based on attendance but rather what people took away from it.”We got through it and everyone had a great time,” he said. “Net, net, we’re pleased. It’s not just numbers; it’s that it went great.”csack@aspentimes.com