Vail Street Beat shows to change
VAIL ” The same street will beat next ski season, but not quite as much. And that’s fine with Jennifer Bruno.
Bruno, co-owner of Luca Bruno, the Gore Creek Drive store that bears her husband’s name, is one of several shop owners along the street who has complained about Street Beat in the past.
The concerts, held on Wednesday evenings through parts of ski season, have drawn complaints from several store and restaurant owners in the area, mostly because of claims the shows keep customers away during the prime early evening shopping times.
“It’s devastating,” Bruno said.
Responding to those complaints, the town and the Vail Valley Foundation, the primary sponsor of the shows, this week hosted a meeting to announce some changes to the series.
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The biggest change is fewer shows, and fewer shows during peak times when people are already in town. Next season’s series will have only 10 shows, down from 13 last season. The shows will run from Nov. 30, through Dec. 21, then from March 8 through April 12, with one of the shows at Golden Peak.
“We’ll change the acts a little, too,” said Terry Brady of the foundation. Merchants have complained the series’ focus on rock and blues bands keeps away more upscale customers. So expect some jazz, bluegrass or cajun acts.
That sounded good to John Cogswell, owner of the Squash Blossom and the gallery that bears his name. “I’d like to draw a little older crowd,” he said.
While there may be some changes to the acts, the location will remain the same, with the musicians playing to the east and the crowd along Gore Creek Drive.
“There just isn’t a good alternative,” Assistant Town Manager Pam Brandmeyer said.
Responding to a question from Bruno about pointing the stage toward the International Bridge, Brandmeyer said that would point performers’ faces and instruments into the wind and weather.
“This shows that we need to get a venue,” said Dave Chapin of Vendetta’s. “Find us a place to have these.”
That’s coming. Brady said he expects Street Beat will be on Gore Creek Drive for just a couple more years. The proposed new Crossroads building ” not yet approved by the town ” features a public plaza, as does the under-construction Arrabelle project in Lionshead.
Until one of those projects is finished, though, the shows will stay along Gore Creek Drive. And, Brady said, the town and the foundation will try to make life a little easier for the merchants.
Part of that effort will include some new temporary fences and security to keep the sidewalks open in front of the businesses. That was good news for Bruno, who said she was spat at by a concert-goer one evening when she asked him to clear the door in front of her shop.
“Access would make a night-and-day difference in our attitude,” she said.
As the meeting broke up, Bruno said she was encouraged by what she heard. “Different approaches will only make things better,” she said.
One of her Gore Creek Drive neighbors agreed. “Clearing space will be one less thing to worry about,” Emata owner Ned Mataraso said.
Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado