Aspen Festivals and Events
Aspen and Snowmass are home to a wide variety of annual events, with festivals centered around music, fall colors, comedy, film, fine food, wine, and even chili and craft beer. It seems like there’s always something interesting going on in Aspen, from the June and Labor Day Jazz Fest events, to the Food & Wine Classic, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. Here are some suggestions from Gary Feldman on the more popular events happening throughout the year.
Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen
This is one of the nation’s most prestigious culinary events. Epicurean stars show their passion for food, wine and entertaining. More than 300 Vintners pour premium wines complimented by specialty foods from around the world. Join leading chefs and noted wine authorities for three inspiring days of wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and special events. This event is the unofficial kickoff to summer in Aspen, and it's been a favorite of locals and visitors for many years. Read more about the Aspen Food and Wine Classic.
The Aspen Filmfest is a two-week extravaganza offering a sneak peek at some of the hottest films everyone will be talking about at the Academy Awards®. Open to everyone, this respected film festival has none of the pretension of comparable events elsewhere and manages to draw top films and filmmakers to Aspen for the last weekend of September each year. "Independent by Nature" the film fest offers feature films, documentaries, retrospectives, and other special events, from those honoring established actors and directors to those heralding exciting new talent.
More information available at www.aspenfilm.org.
Jazz Aspen offers two events over the course of the summer, one in June with a more classical jazz focus, and one in September that has featured artists as diverse as Widepread Panic, Bob Dylan, and Steve Miller Band.
The Aspen June Festival takes place in downtown Aspen at Rio Grande Park. Evening performances are showcased in an intimate setting under a 3,000 seat tent. In addition to the main stage acts, free concerts can be seen daily on the Cooper Street Mall along with late night JAS After Dark performances at Aspen’s premiere nightclub the Belly Up.
The Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival takes place at the Snowmass Town Park in Snowmass Village. In addition to world-class music on the main stage, diverse live music can be seen on two festival side stages and at JAS After Dark performances each night. The JAS Village completes the festival feel with an international bazaar of exotic food, drink, and crafts. Walk to the festival from many properties in Snowmass.
Aspen Ideas Festival
For more than 50 years, the Aspen Institute has been the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times. Imagine some of the most inspired and provocative writers, artists, scientists, business people, teachers and leaders – drawn from myriad fields, from across the country and from around the world – all gathered in a single place, ready to teach, speak, lead, question, and answer. The speakers interact with an audience of thoughtful people, who have stepped back from their day-to-day routines to delve deeply into a world of ideas, thought, and discussion. The week always promises to be stimulating, meaningful, and fun – true to Aspen tradition.
Other great event venues include:
The Wheeler Opera House
Dating back to 1889, the Wheeler Opera House is a historical event venue in the heart of Aspen. Home to events ranging from movies to concerts and comedy, the Opera House hosts a wide array of entertainment.
More information available at www.wheeleroperahouse.com.
Belly Up Aspen
The sister club to the famous Belly Up in Solano Beach, California, the Belly Up Aspen features award-winning musicians including BB King, Joe Cocker, Ben Harper, and many more. Opened in 2005, this intimate and state-of-the-art concert venue has become an instant favorite. The Belly Up also showcases films, sporting events, and other special community events. For the concert lineup and more information, visit Bellyupaspen.com