Ed Fest moving to Vail | VailDaily.com

Ed Fest moving to Vail

An arbor of hops greets beer lovers at the entrance to Ed Fest after they go through security in Edwards in 2014.

EAGLE COUNTY — Ed Fest is moving to Vail. That means the best way to put the "Ed" in the event is if a bunch of guys named Ed go to the event.

The move to Vail is as close to last-minute as things get in the event business. The news about the Aug. 20 event broke July 27, about three weeks out.

A press release from Crazy Mountain Brewing Co., Ed Fest's primary sponsor, cited only "logistical challenges" as the reason for a move. A subsequent conversation with Crazy Mountain festival director and marketing manager Kaleigh Armitage provided a bit more explanation.

Since Ed Fest is a beer tasting event, it requires a special liquor license for the athletic fields in Edwards. Eagle County officials scheduled a hearing on that license application Aug. 9, only 11 days prior to the event. That was simply too close to the event date for the promoters' comfort. The Ford Amphitheater's schedule was empty that day, and an agreement was quickly completed.

Armitage said event organizers hope to return Ed Fest to Edwards at some point. But, she added, as the event has grown throughout the past few years, a move to Vail makes sense for several reasons.

While Ed Fest remains an event aimed largely at locals, it's attracting more out-of-town guests as it grows. Vail's hotels and transit system make will help that part of growing the event, Armitage said.

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That said, Armitage said she hopes locals still turn out. To help get people to the venue, Crazy Mountain is working with ECO Transit to provide bus passes to everyone who buys a ticket.

And, Armitage said, the event will still feature 40 breweries and musical talent. But this year, if a sudden squall hits the festival site, the musicians will be protected and there will be some cover for those who attend.

The 2015 event was rained out, and the headline act, Drive By Truckers, were forced to abandon the stage after only a few songs.

The Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District manages the athletic fields in Edwards. Mike Staten, the district's area manager for Edwards, said the festival would be welcome to submit another application for an event there.

"Our interaction with (event promoters) has been positive," Staten said.

And, while the intent is to one day return Ed Fest to Edwards, Armitage said the festival's new home in Vail should provide the same experience in a different place.

"We hope the community rallies and comes out," she said. "We hope to continue bringing fun events to the valley."

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.