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Vail abuzz with Bravo! business

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyConductor Jaap van Zweden leads the Dallas Syphony Orchestra through Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien in A Major on opening night of the Bravo music festival at the Ford Ampitheater in Vail.
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VAIL, Colorado – For some restaurants and lodges in Vail, Colorado business is hitting a high note with an influx of visitors and performers in town for the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

The six-week concert series, featuring performances by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and other musicians, brings in not only a slew of performers, but attracts concert goers from all over the Vail Valley, Colorado and the country.

Terra Bistro restaurant in Vail Village regularly sees huge post-concert crowds throughout the month, said Frank Johnson, general manager of the Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa – so much so in fact, that the restaurant brings in more wait staff to deal with the late crowd.

“Terra Bistro gets a tremendous boost from the concerts. It’s usually a giant one-shot push between 8:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.,” he said. “Sometimes it’s actually hard to handle. We’ll be maxed out and extremely busy.”

That’s good news in a tough economy – in fact, Rob Sinclair, general manager of Larkspur Restaurant at Golden Peak, called the business created by the concert series “crucial.”

“It depends on which orchestras are in town, but we’ll upwards of 100 to 200 people coming in afterward,” he said. “People all seem to know each other. On the first of July after the first concert, everyone comes in and it’s all the people you see year in and year out.”

Besides the local crowd, the concerts also attract people from out of town.

According to surveys conducted by the festival last year, almost 27 percent of those surveyed were vacationers to the Vail Valley, and of that group, 61 percent said that Bravo! was the main reason or one of the main reasons for their trip.

Many of those visitors were staying in Vail hotels and dining out, according to survey results.

“I think we have a lot of people who come in every year for the concerts, especially the New York Philharmonic,” said Alan Kosloff, vice chairman of the festival’s board of directors. “It’s particularly important in these economic times. We’re estimating that ticket sales are as strong as last season.”

Executive Director John Giovando said he estimates roughly 60,000 people attended last year’s festival – the growth of the event has followed right along with the growth of the valley and the ski resort, he said.

“When you think of the impact a music series brings to the community, it’s a big economic impact, but it is also a cultural impact,” he said. “For Vail to be a world-class resort and not to have a world-class music series to match it, it would just be wrong thinking.”

The musicians and performers themselves also come to town ready to play and eat.

“They do tons of things when they’re up here,” said Rachel Packer, director of public relations and marketing. “This past trip, there were (Philadelphia) orchestra members who went zip lining, golfing, some rented bikes. They’re all out doing every activity they can think of. They make vacations out of it.”

The Philadelphia Orchestra alone, which has been in town the past week, took up 110 rooms at the Antlers, Vail Cascade Resort and the Lodge at Vail.

The New York Philharmonic will stay in 110 rooms at Antlers, Vail Cascade and Arrabelle Square for a total of 990 room nights.

“It has become such a reputable event, and people really do respond to them,” Packer said. “These people are coming and staying in hotels and shopping with their families and eating in restaurants.”

While the hotel sponsors house the orchestras at discounted room rates, the lodges said they see the musicians’ stay as a great benefit to the community.

Matthew Martinucci with Vail Cascade Resort said the series brings prestige and recognition to the town.

“(The musicians) definitely enjoy coming to Vail and they enjoy the visits,” he said “We think the festival is a great organization, and it’s exciting to see that even in a challenging year they’re able to have success.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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