On Nov. 1, the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek announced its 16th winter season, continuing its tradition of “best in class” entertainment. If you are referring to a sub-par class of predictable has-beens, then yes, you have picked the best in this class! Once again Kris Sabel, the executive director for VPAC, has taken the “safe” road with his pick of musicians (I am using this term loosely) who have neither released an album in the last two decades nor cater to what I call a significant interest group — the locals. Hey Kris, remember us?
With a quick look into this year’s winter season schedule, I count over a dozen acts that seem to come to Beaver Creek every year. Keller Williams? Yup. Keb’ Mo’, Los Lonely Boys? Yup. Rick Springfield, The Wailers, Boz Scaggs, Chris Botti, Jim Gaffigan, Colin Mochrie, Paula Cole, Momma Mia, Los Lobos? Yup, yup and absolutely yup. I see that Mr. Sabel has addressed his issue of high ticket prices for locals with an early purchase discount option, which is nice except it’s not the price of the ticket to why the locals are not buying your shows but rather the substance (or lack thereof) of the artists that are booked. If you schedule a band the locals actually want to see, we will pay the ticket price! This is why such local-friendly venues like Belly Up in Aspen consistently sell out shows; it’s because of the talent that is playing. In just the next couple of months, Aspen enjoys Galactic, The National, Weezer, Steve Aoki, the Pixies and Blues Traveler and we get Burt Bacharach? As I have said publicly in the past, the VPAC winter and summer seasons are like that movie “Groundhog Day.” Every six months I open the Vail Daily and read all about the “best in class” entertainment that is coming to the Vilar Center and every year it’s the same old stuff with a really cool puppeteer thrown in the mix. Mr. Sabel, your choice this winter also reminds me of listening to eight-track tapes. They were very cool 30 years ago. Not so much today.