Snowmass Rendezvous returns with new format
Wineries, distilleries, breweries all on tap for Saturday
Sure, you could quantify the Snowmass Rendezvous festival by the numbers: the main tasting event Saturday tallies up four breweries, two wineries, five spirits distilleries and eight “lifestyle brands” will be spread across three venues in Snowmass Village, according to an email from Lauren Rapp, vice president of event co-organizer Two Parts.
But after four hours of essentially bottomless alcohol at the Saturday afternoon tasting, who’s really counting?
As of June 12, there were still tickets available for Saturday’s tasting — but Rapp recommends folks don’t play it by the skin of their teeth.
“Tickets for the main event have always sold out by event day. … If anyone is thinking about buying tickets, I always encourage buying in advance,” Rapp wrote June 12. “We can’t guarantee tickets will be available for Saturday day-of.”
(Rendezvous kicked off in 2016, but it was hardly the first time a craft beer festival came to Snowmass; its predecessors include the Chili Pepper and Beer Fest from 2004-2012 and the Mammoth Festival from 2013-2015.)
Plus, the year-over-year stats suggest the event isn’t shrinking in popularity — not by a long shot, according to Snowmass Tourism’s special events manager Julie Hardman. “It just really took off” after the debut a few years back and clocked around 1,700 ticket holders by the time the 2019 festival rolled around, Hardman said.
Expect a strong local showing from vendors Saturday, including Aspen Brewing, Woody Creek Distillers and Carbondale-based Marble Distilling.
There also will be several out-of-towners slinging libations, with a cohort that includes New York-based wine importer Super Glou, Denver’s beer-and-seltzer siblings Great Divide Brewing Co. and Whitewater Seltzer, and Fruit Smash Hard Seltzer from New Belgium Brewing Co., which has bases in Fort Collins and Asheville, North Carolina.
Hardman said planning around the pandemic was a likely nexus point for Two Parts to make some of the changes festival goers will see this year — changes like a three-point setup that extends well beyond the Snowmass Mall with tastings on Fanny Hill, the turf rink outside The Collective in Base Village and the grass lawn next to the base of the Village Express.
Though the total vendor count is slightly sparser than years past (2019’s festival garnered nearly 30 brewers), the lineup not only includes wineries and spirits this year but also companies offering live gear demos for everything from axe throwing to electric motorbikes.
“They were ready to kind of switch things up, and I think they used COVID as kind of a catalyst to do that,” Hardman said. “They were ready to expand beyond just the craft beer scene.”
Saturday isn’t the only day of festivities, either (though it is the only one with bottomless alcohol included in the price of a $40 ticket).
The festival kicks off with a free welcome party on the rink in Base Village from 5-9 p.m. Friday that includes a free cocktail from Woody Creek Distillery; it wraps up Sunday morning with a pancakes and bloody marys (also on the rink) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Entry to the welcome party and to the brunch requires an RSVP.
Live music remains a part of the festival, too, though in a more dispersed setup than previous years’ single concerts offered in tandem with the tasting.
The Fanny Hill stage that hosts the free Thursday night concert series in the village also will get some use Saturday, with the indie-folk band Heavy Diamond Ring playing for festival attendees and passerby alike. DJ Trizz will perform Friday night and DJ Kyju will be on tap Saturday and Sunday, Rapp wrote in her email.
Hardman said that while the performance won’t be quite the “full-blown concert” that locals see most Thursdays, there will still be space in the back half of the venue with a separate entrance for those who aren’t imbibing at Rendezvous to tune in. (The front half of the venue will encompass one of the three ticketed tasting zones for the festival.)
This year’s layout and roving-encouraged format will make it possible for families with kids in tow to tag-team the Rendezvous experience and still keep the under-21 crew engaged with live entertainment, Hardman noted.
“They know Snowmass is such a family-friendly destination that they don’t want to eliminate that experience for anyone,” Hardman said of the event organizing team.
Tickets are available at snowmassrendezvous.com.
Long before you could buy your Patagonia apparel and gear at the Snowmass Village Mall, company founder Yvon Chouinard was an avid rock climber and mountain man living in California.
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