Snowmass history: A surprise Buffett at the Deaf Camp picnic

Nearly 4,000 picnickers

Aspen Historical Society
Picnickers gather at the site of the June 1979 Deaf Camp picnic, held at the Snowmass Creek campground. Concertgoers are gathered on Campground ski run at Snowmass ski area with a stage in the background.
Aspen Historical Society Cassatt Collection

“The annual Deaf Camp picnic last week held surprises for just about everyone,” remarked The Aspen Times on June 28, 1979.

The paper described the event as “ranging from a surprise appearance by Jimmy Buffett to religious fanaticism.”

“The Snowmass Campground lift area was thronged with 4,000-odd barely clad bodies, enjoying the sun and the seven hours of almost continuous music,” the Times reported. “The skies defied the tradition of sunny picnics. But a brief shower or two didn’t mar the spirits of locals, valley residents, or visitors from out of town. Everyone just put shirts over their heads and kept clapping.”

While the religious propagandists tried to overshadow the event, “the surprise appearance of Jimmy Buffett made up for any unpleasantness. Buffett sang for a cheering and clapping crowd, and the deaf children in the front row stop to cheer in appreciation.”


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