Avon Town Council member: Ben Harper concert has home-run potential
American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper brings the Innocent Criminals to Avon next month, with the town of Avon and its residents, businesses and guests awaiting their arrival and the Harry A. Nottingham Park and Performance Pavilion set to provide a glorious setting. The Avon Town Council and members of its Marketing and Special Events committees are reaching out across the state and beyond seeking attendance.
Since its completion in 2015, the Performance Pavilion has hosted many shows, ticketed and free, with July 3 showing 20,000 people the beauty of orchestral performances on the stage. The resurrection of music on July 3, meanwhile, is one of the many successful impacts of the recently formed Avon Ad Hoc Special Events Committee, charged with recommending 2017 performances — including the recommendation for the Ben Harper event — to the Town Council. The committee has been instrumental in fine tuning goals for 2018, as well as criteria for funding reviews of next year’s special events.
The musical talent of Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals was selected by the committee in May for funding guarantees, as the group met so many of the committee’s criteria. The fact that the nearest performances on the group’s international tour this summer are in Utah and Kansas provide Avon with the rare opportunity to satiate the musical cravings of their many fans in Denver, Boulder, Summit County, Steamboat Springs and beyond.
Avon is flexing its marketing connections, as well — having developed July 3 into the busiest day of the year — and the town now is combining forces with promotions to Harper’s many loyal fans. Several promotions soon will be launched rewarding ticket buyers willing to commit now. I am most excited about the drawing to be held on Aug. 22 for 20 reserved event parking passes at the Avon Recreation Center — as we all know, parking often is the biggest controversy at Avon Town Council meetings.
As a recycled member of the Avon Town Council, one of my personal goals is to activate Harry A. Nottingham Park in a variety of ways that will support the town’s diverse population. I believe this can be achieved by becoming a beacon on the radar shared by national concert tour producers as a beautiful venue off Interstate 70 with easy access for tour buses crisscrossing the American West.
From Kansas to Utah, Las Vegas to Omaha, Nebraska, many tour bus routes travel through Avon. One lesson learned from the recent Lyle Lovett and his Large Band performance is that Avon is too close to Red Rocks and Belly-Up. Another lesson is that our venue is stunning, especially at sunset. How awesome the Lovett performance was. While it wasn’t a home run with the producers, the lessons learned have not deterred them. We hope to see AEG on the calendar again in 2018.
In my opinion, the true gamble was taken in 2013, when the town approved and funded the Performance Pavilion project. While I was not a member of that Town Council, I am one of its seven members now. Along with the vast majority of the council, I am committed to supporting the decision of the Special Events Committee, the town’s staff and the talent we have hired to fill the pavilion’s lawn with more than 2,000 music enthusiasts in a variety of seating and pricing options. If we sell more than 2,500 tickets for Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, then that really would be a home run.
The upcoming weekend of Sept. 15-17 is looking to be one of the best weekends in my memory to close out summer in Avon. Whether during the day on Saturday you choose to hike to the mic to enjoy Elvis Costello & the Imposters in Beaver Creek, roll out the barrel with Helmut Fricker at Oktoberfest in Vail Village or hang out at the beach on Nottingham Lake in Avon, I hope to see you enjoying the setting sun at the Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals performance on Friday.
Amy Cramer Phillips is a current member of the Avon Town Council. She also served on the council from 2004 to 2012.