Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

If I were you, I would be nervous if I didn’t already have tickets to this weekend’s JAS Labor Day weekend music festival. If you were me, you’d already have them. And, if ifs and uhmms were guitars and drums, every day would be a festival featuring headliners like Zac Brown Band, Steely Dan and Girl Talk, but they are not, so you better get to the box office now.

Seriously. Zac Brown sold out shows at Red Rocks in an hour for the two nights following this Sunday night’s appearance here. I am guessing that, if you are reading this first thing Friday morning over a cup of coffee, the show in Snowmass will be completely sold out in 10 minutes from right about … now. It will be the first JAS Labor Day show that has sold out before the day of the concert. Scalpers, lick your lips!

Polly wants a cracker, and I want a prediction. Parrotheads get ready: I bet Jimmy Buffett will make a guest appearance with Zac Brown. What makes me think so? Hmmm. You just have to trust me on this.

Remember a few years back when I told you the Jerome was going to be sold and sliced up into timeshares? You didn’t believe it. Well, except for one worldwide economic implosion it would have happened. After the fact, WMDs (Wish-lists for Multiple Deeds) were discovered in local real-estate-type peoples’ offices.

Anyway, I recently had the opportunity to sit down at the J-Bar with Jim Horowitz, CEO and founder of JAS, where we inadvertently failed to order anything, which I’m sure made the waitstaff wonder, “what the heck (e.g. #?*!).” Sorry about that: I was busy asking him what’s new this year, and, as it turns out, that information is going to be worth more to you than a measly tip on a couple of iced teas.

The biggest change is perhaps something that people might not notice unless they get to the venue early. This year, JAS signed a deal with promoter AEG, and FYI it’s a BFD. AEG puts together acts for more than 7,000 concerts worldwide every year. What this does is give the group clout: Clout in the music business means not only that you get big-time headliners, but also up-and-coming performers with tons of potential.

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The warmup bands at this year’s Labor Day festival are not there just to pound your eardrums. They might be next year’s sensations! I think that’s worth showing up early for to sit in the warm sun, sipping on a cool drink, taking in the incredible surroundings, and listening … OK, maybe a little dancing, too, if you are of that persuasion – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

What else? Hmmm … OK, I got it! There will be a live auction to benefit JAS and its musical mission at 6:45 Saturday night in the Patron tent. OK, OK, a lot of you are poo-pooing this, right? I can hear it now, “Oooo, another snobby sideshow for the VIP section.” Well, cut it out.

This is actually a great way to have a silent auction without killing the buzz as so often happens at otherwise fun local events as soon as the auctioneer takes the microphone and stage. If you are not in the VIP section, you won’t even know this is going on. Sip your drink, eat your chow, catch up with friends, and wait for the next show to begin: business as usual.

If you want to participate without buying a VIP ticket, show up at the Patron tent flashing a Polo shirt under your tie-dye and tell security that you are interested in bidding on the trip to next year’s Grammy Awards and tons of other great items that you can check out now on the JAS Website, and they’ll let you in.

Bid, sign the credit card slip, and you’ll be back with the unwashed masses before the tattooed folks in the mosh pit suspect you’re gone any longer than you could hold your breath for in a portable toilet.

Finally, this year you will find the electronica stage set up in the Village area of the festival, you know, the park across the street where you buy food and stuff. Horowitz tried to explain to me exactly what this is, and all I came away with is that it is the newest trend in music between acts on the main stage. He assured me that I would get it when I got there and it would make me feel young and hip. That might be the only unfulfilled promise of the many new ones this year’s festival is making. But, we’ll see.

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