This winter, Aspen is reverberating with a bounty of live music. Here, we break down this season’s music checklist.
Anyone who knows Aspen or spends time here knows that music is a significant part of the cultural scene. On any night, a music lover might choose between a DJ set, a jazz show or a major rock band (the particularly energetic might attend all three). This winter is no exception, with a diverse selection of acts performing everywhere from the St. Regis courtyard thanks to Snow Lodge, pop-up venues around town care of Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and even Rio Grande Park, where Belly Up’s outdoor music festival returns for its second year, in partnership with Kygo’s Palm Tree Crew and C3 Presents.
Post Bowl laps and après libations are some of the music happenings not to be missed this winter. Belly Up’s roster of talent is always a jam-packed collage of acts that evoke nostalgia, introduce on-the-rise artists, showcase top DJs and celebrate great music. “We’re excited to have Jamie XX for the first time,” says David Goldberg, who co-owns Aspen’s premiere venue with his brother, Danny, and his father, Michael.” It’s rare for him to play a smaller venue, making it even more special.” Other highlights of Belly Up’s winter months include performances by The Head & the Heart, The Cold War Kids, The Disco Biscuits, Grouplove and many more.
In addition to Aspen’s premiere venue’s endlessly impressive schedule, Belly Up hosts its second-annual Palm Tree Music Festival in Rio Grande Park Feb. 23-24. “We’re excited to bring it back and hopefully make it even better this year,” says Goldberg. Headliners include Kygo, The Chainsmokers and David Guetta. “In everything we do, we want to add more to what makes Aspen special and fun,” he says. “No single lineup will appease everyone’s tastes, so the goal is to have each lineup we do be diverse but simultaneously have all the artists fit well with each other and the event.” This year also brings additional ways for festivalgoers to enjoy the shows, including a GA-Plus option for those looking for an elevated experience without committing to the cost of VIP tickets.
In the last few years, Snow Lodge, too, has become an après staple, bringing some of the world’s top DJs to the St. Regis courtyard for a raucous good time. “We are working hard to present our best season yet in Aspen, and we’re so excited for what’s to come,” says Snow Lodge owner Jayma Cardoso. “Our programming is more dynamic than ever, and we will be showcasing amazing talent from around the world.” The establishment’s wildly popular après series—set in the St. Regis courtyard—promises a stellar lineup all season long with DJ acts including Bob Moses, Cassian, Rampa,and music duo Sofi Tukker on the schedule. This year, devoted local Snow Lodge attendees can buy season-long passes for the concerts, allowing them a discounted rate to attend all of the fun. After the sun sets, the action moves to the Jade Room, a tented courtyard adjacent to the dining room. Monday nights host jazz acts; Wednesdays feature acoustic bands; and Thursdays through Saturdays are for DJs. The end of the weekend promises to be popular among Aspenites: Locals pay half price to come groove to Alex Golden & Friends, who will be in residency at Snow Lodge on Sundays. Last winter’s popular Mojave Grey also returns for a nightly residency.
No discussion about Aspen’s music scene could be had without including Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS), which has provided the Valley with a soundtrack for the past three decades. This winter, the nonprofit brings five JAS Café performances (with two shows nightly) to The Little Nell and Here House on various weekends from January through March. The series kicks off with the worldly sounds of vocal-guitar duo Eleanor Dubinsky & Dario Acosta Teich on December 22 and 23. “Eleanor & Dario are a musical and life duo whom I first heard a few years ago,” says Jim Horowitz, president and CEO of Jazz Aspen Snowmass. “They play a beguiling mix of jazz and pop standards, all marked with their irresistible chemistry. I heard their music pouring out of a local [nightclub], and an Aspen invitation quickly followed!”
Additionally, over two weekends in March, the nonprofit hosts four nights of JAS After Dark at The Sterling, featuring modern brass-band groups and a “looser, more casual format,” according to Horowitz.
With so many music options to sift through this winter, make sure you don’t go so hard on the hill that you don’t leave energy for the dance floor later. You’re going to need it. bellyupaspen.com; thesnowlodge.com; jazzaspensnowmass.org
By: Sari Anne Tuschman I Aspen Magazine I November 21, 2023