Letter (Aug. 28): I’ll pass on Jazz Aspen
August 28, 2013
I'll pass on Jazz Aspen
I long ago accepted the idea that Jazz Aspen-Snowmass makes its general-admission customers as uncomfortable as possible in order to promote sales of its premium seating.
Second-class-citizen status was made tolerable by the "Blind Faith" Pass, which grants one of the best values in live music to people who are willing to order tickets for the whole weekend so far in advance they don't even know which artists they will be seeing.
The number of these tickets made available seems to have shrunk over the years, but in any event they will sell out automatically every year, which means any need to please the customer who buys them is nonexistent.
All of the above makes perfect business sense — and if you don't like it, don't go.
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My girlfriend has purchased the pass almost religiously for as long as she has known about it, often as a Christmas present for me. We only just discovered that she no longer can go to a concert with a friend on one day, and with me the next, because Jazz Aspen no longer issues individual tickets. Our envelope arrived, not with six tickets for three days, but with two wristbands. Two.
To attend more than one concert, you have to be banded like a bird for the whole weekend, even as you sleep. It drives me batty to have these things on during a concert, let alone three days — I have never been able to wear a wristwatch for the same reason, but that's my problem.
In the fevered imagination of concert promoters (not just Jazz Aspen, by the way), there would be people lined up outside the venue waiting to get tickets from people leaving the concert early, and ticket sales would plummet. Or something. I have never quite figured out the passed-on-ticket paranoia, which is the apparent basis for the substitution of tickets for wristbands — and which probably costs more to administer than the theoretical loss from reduced ticket sales.
What we find most interesting about the situation is realizing that we must have been engaging in near-criminal activity over the years by sometimes having our six to eight tickets used by more than two people, even though they attended complete concerts. Or something. Apparently we were engaged in some sort of a scam the whole time and never even knew it.
There is no reason to ask for a change of policy because there is no reason for Jazz Aspen to care if we no longer attend their concerts. They were nice enough to refund our money this year even though we were not studious enough to notice the new deal when we automatically purchased our passes.
But every so often it's worth toasting one more thing we used to do in Aspen that is no longer worth the trouble.
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