AEG to breathe new life into Jazz Aspen Snowmass

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenDecember 6, 2010

Since 1991, the nonprofit Jazz Aspen Snowmass has lined up some of the biggest names in music to play outdoors amid the splendor of the Elk Mountains. The result? Scores of world-class performances.

Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson and the Black Eyed Peas are among the many artists whose Jazz Aspen Snowmass concerts will not be forgotten. This Labor Day, bands like Wilco and The Black Crowes dazzled crowds with their big-name and straight-forward rock and 'roll shows.

The Black Crowes on Labor Day weekend.
Oliver Sharpe
Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys, Aspen

Just a few years ago record-breaking crowds were the norm. In 2008, the festival expanded to five days to accommodate 36,700 attendees. But this past festival didn't see the ticket sales it did previously. It also was whittled down to three days when the annual Labor Day jam typically lasted four.

Now enter the Rocky Mountain division of AEG Live, the nation’s second-largest concert promoter and a subsidiary of Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz's entertainment empire, based in Los Angeles.

Starting next year, AEG Live Rock Mountains will assume the lead role in programming the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day pop-music festival — along with its sister music festival in Sonoma, Calif., which is annually held in late May — and help try to land corporate sponsorships for the shows. Jazz Aspen will continue to execute the Labor Day festival's day-to-day operations and retain total control of its more intimate June festival and year-round jazz education and performance programs.

“The opportunity to work with AEG Live to take JAS to the next level of artistic programming is one of the most exciting developments in the history of our organization,” the festival's Aspen-based founder Jim Horowitz said in a prepared statement. “As the music industry has consolidated in recent years and with the explosion of major music festivals nationally and internationally, JAS as an independent organization has been increasingly challenged to consistently deliver the A level talent which our markets and audiences demand. We feel strongly that with AEG’s track record as one of the nation’s major concert presenters, we will have the opportunity to now be part of the discussion on major artist visits to Colorado and the Bay Area at the outset of planning for the summer season.”

Horowitz said AEG Live's “exemplary track record in collaborating with the not-for-profit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival ...offers us an excellent road map and confidence to guide our own working relationship ... going forward.” AEG's marketing of events like Coachella Music & Arts Festival in California, should help draw sponsors, he added.

“For years I’ve been a fan of this festival, as both a spectator and as part of the Colorado music industry,” AEG Live Rocky Mountains CEO and President Chuck Morris said in a press release. “Our new partnership will continue to grow this event as one of the premier music festivals in the country.”

comments: 1 Comment on "AEG to breathe new life into Jazz Aspen Snowmass"

Ali – Jan. 29, 2011, at 1:28 p.m.

Since the first concerts held in Rugby Park back in 1991, I have watched my friend, Jim Horowitz, guide JazzAspen to it's preeminent place as one of North America's most successful music festivals with all the love and patience of a father raising a child. Through both near-euphoric times and a few (though very few) heart-wrenching occasions, Jim displayed the qualities of a born leader, and JazzAspen flourished. I'm glad he's got some help coming on board - especially if it means he can sit down at the piano himself a little more, and I hope Aspen and Snowmass give him the recognition and kudos he has earned over the last 20 years.

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