25 years of Jazz Aspen Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

25 years of Jazz Aspen Snowmass

Jill Beathard | Snowmass Sun
Hozier performs in concert at the Beacon Theater on Friday, March 6, 2015, in New York.
Associated Press | Invision

If you go ...

All events at Snowmass Town Park


Friday, Sept. 4

6 p.m.: Fitz and the Tantrums

8 p.m.: Hozier

Saturday, Sept. 5

3 p.m.: Grupo Fantasma

5 p.m.: Jimmy Cliff

7:30 p.m.: No Doubt

Sunday, Sept. 6

3 p.m.: Conrad Sewell

5 p.m.: The Fray

7:30 p.m.: Lenny Kravitz


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Getting there

No on-site parking except for VIP ticket holders. Free parking is available offsite in Snowmass Village at the Base Village parking garage and the numbered lots. Village Shuttle offers free service from those sites.

More parking is also available at the Brush Creek intercept lot on Highway 82. Free shuttles are also available there.

To cap off its 25th anniversary season, Jazz Aspen Snowmass needed an all out rockin’ lineup for this year’s Labor Day Experience.

Jim Horowitz thinks they’ve accomplished that.

The festival, returning once again to Snowmass Town Park Friday through Sunday, will be headlined by international sensations Hozier, No Doubt and Lenny Kravitz, a combination that the founder, president and CEO says blows past lineups out of the water.

“I think the back to back of Gwen Stefani and No Doubt on Saturday and Lenny Kravitz and The Fray on Sunday, there’s never been a back to back quite at that level here,” Horowitz said.

The weekend will kick off with Fitz and the Tantrums and Hozier — a combo Horowitz called “a very cool bill.”

“The interesting thing about Hozier is this is not a one-hit wonder,” Horowitz said. “All the reports we’ve gotten on the live shows is that it’s a great show. … People are like, this is a real deal guy with a great voice, great presence and probably has a great future, so it’s exciting to have an act like that.”

Reggae fans will appreciate Jimmy Cliff’s appearance on Saturday, his first since taking the JAS stage for its 10th anniversary festival. Snowmass is one of six stops in the country for No Doubt this year, and its relatively intimate setting — compared to the bigger venues they’re playing — makes this show special, Horowitz said.

Kravitz has been on tour all year, including his appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show, and similarly, the reports have been promising, Horowitz said.

“Lenny has serious iconic rock star status,” he added.

The Outside Music Lounge, a side stage that has been a venue for up and comers to provide entertainment during breaks on the main stage, will be relocated to the “village” — the food court — this year, which JAS hopes will enhance the experience for people trying to grab a bite between sets.

“The village is a whole happening scene in its own right,” Horowitz said. “There’ll be a whole music scene there where there wasn’t before.”

As Jazz Aspen Snowmass celebrates 25 years, its Labor Day festival is marking 20. Looking into the future, Horowitz foresees the format staying the same, but the question of who will fill out the lineup is anybody’s guess. As touring becomes the biggest way musicians make money and outdoor festivals become more and more popular, it’s tough to compete for top artists.

“I’ll say with confidence that we’re going to continue to present festivals at the same high level of artists that we’ve had in recent years,” Horowitz said. “That’s always going to be the goal, to continue to put the best artists on stages large and small.”

The Jazz Aspen Snowmass organization has continued to evolve as well. Its JAS Café series showcasing jazz and world music in intimate settings in Aspen has developed quite the following, proven by the strong numbers that continued to show up when it moved to the Aspen Art Museum this summer, Horowitz said. And its school programs have made a lasting impact over the years, helping band and music teachers from Aspen to Glenwood develop their curriculum, find more instruments and get support from professional musicians.

“We know we can do more,” Horowitz said, “but we’re on a good track there.”

The nonprofit would like to bring back the JAS Academy, its all-scholarship summer music education program once based in Snowmass. Like many things, it succumbed to the Great Recession, but with the right funding, JAS would bring it back in a minute, Horowitz said.

As for the Labor Day festival, it’s in Snowmass to stay.

“It’s at home in Snowmass until something changes that I’m not aware of,” he said. “All of our focus is on how we can do better there.”