Burton event a big hit in Vail
VAIL, Colorado – Barry Davis said the evening of March 2 felt pretty easy at his place – Bol, in the Solaris building. “But it only felt easy because of Friday,” Davis said.
Davis said his place would have had a busy weekend with or without the Burton U.S. Open Snowboard Championships – it is March, after all, the time when businesses in Vail expect big crowds. But the Burton event just made the weekend that much busier, Davis said.
The snowboarding events drew thousands. Vail Town Council member Margaret Rogers was at the event site Saturday and said lots of people were gathered at the halfpipe. But, Rogers said, a lot of those people ended up in the village, too. And even more people came to the Friday concert featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Macklemore is one of the hottest acts in music at the moment, thanks to the massive YouTube success of the song “Thrift Shop,” which has been viewed more than 130 million times so far.
Macklemore is young and good-looking, which means he’s a draw for teenage girls, many of whom came to Vail Friday just for a look at the latest heartthrob on the scene.
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“I had dads calling from Denver, wondering where to park and what to do,” Davis said.
The combination of an already-busy weekend, fresh snow, the snowboard event and a hot musician added up to a crowd bigger than any James Deighan had seen before in Vail Village. Deighan is one of the partners in Highline Sports and Entertainment, an event promotion company that’s been working in the Vail Valley since the early 1990s.
Deighan said the Macklemore show – which was actually booked by the Burton people – was unique in that it brought in a musician at just about the peak of his current fame – the next night Macklemore was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.”
“We’ve had people win Grammys between the time we booked them and the time they appeared, but nothing like this,” Deighan said. “We could just about have moved it to Ford Park.”
The weekend brought a variety of visitors to town, too. Rogers said she saw a village sandwich shop, Big Bear Bistro, buzzing at lunchtime Saturday. Later that day, Rogers was part of a group that had dinner at Mastuhisa, which was also very busy.
“People were having a great time,” Rogers said of the crowds she saw. “It was just a really great, family atmosphere.”
Deighan echoed those comments. So how many people were really in Vail for the Friday concert? Deighan wouldn’t venture a guess, but the short answer is “a lot.”
That made for happy merchants – Yeti’s Grind co-owner Tara Picklo said she saw a “huge influx of business” – and at least one happy town council member.
The town of Vail put roughly $400,000 into the Burton event. That money was well-spent, Rogers said.
“It really was a home run,” she said, adding that promoters traditionally ask for smaller donations as events become more successful over time.
“Hopefully they can rely less and less on us for funding,” she said.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or email@example.com.