Has SnowBall run its course in Avon?
Ryan Summerlin June 16, 2012
AVON – The SnowBall Music Festival may have run its course in Avon.
As of this week, at least three Town Council members are ready to say goodbye to the event, and a decision could be made as soon as the council’s June 26 meeting.
The matter came up at the June 12 meeting, when Town Recreation Director Meryl Jacobs said with new events coming to town and budget season coming, her department needed some certainty about the future of the event.
Mayor Rich Carroll agreed, saying it’s time for an “honest discussion” about the event.
“We hope the opportunity to work with the town of Avon is still there,” said Scott Stoughton, one of the event promoters. “There’s great potential to make this even better.”
Stoughton and his partners were universally praised by council members for their professionalism. But, Carroll said, town officials need to make a distinction between the promoters and the event.
The problem in several council members’ minds was the drug use they witnessed at the events.
Council member Buz Reynolds acknowledged he went to plenty of concerts as a young man and saw plenty of drug use then.
“But I was overwhelmed at the quantities of what I saw,” Reynolds said. “I also talked to the lodging community and heard about their disenchantment. I talked to the hospital and they’re overwhelmingly not in favor of bringing this back.”
Council member Dave Dantas said he, too, was “overwhelmed” by the amount of drug use he saw.
Stoughton said the most egregious abuses came from a “small percentage” of those who attended, but acknowledged he didn’t have answers about how to curtail even those people’s drug use.
But council member Chris Evans stated flatly the promoters could have done more in their efforts.
“Your website didn’t say ‘don’t bring drugs,’ but ‘don’t share,'” Evans said. “The message should be ‘don’t bring it.’ … If you can’t put on your website that we don’t want you to break the law, you don’t have my vote to bring you back.”
But, Evans said, he wants to hear the opinions of residents and business owners before making a decision.
Christie Lodge General Manager Lisa Siegert Free said she intends to be at the June 26 meeting to lobby for the festival.
Siegert Free said she was “a little surprised” to learn that SnowBall might not return.
“We had a really great week – we didn’t have any problems,” Siegert Free said. “It brought a lot of revenue to the lodges and the restaurants.”
While council members said they’d heard complaints from other lodges, Siegert Free said the Christie Lodge – a time-share condo complex – was prepared for the festival crowd. People who owned the first week in March were informed SnowBall was coming, Siegert Free said, and many came anyway.
“It really made our March,” she said. “I’d hate to lose that weekend.”
But Dantas, Carroll and Reynolds seem set.
“Waiting two weeks on this is like waiting two weeks to cut the dog’s tail off,” Carroll said.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vail