My first summer as Co-Artistic Director of the Crested Butte Music Festival was an experience. At times, the experience was exhilarating, exhausting, inspiring, collaborative, rejuvenating, collegial, and stressful (sometimes all combined together), but I was always thrilled by the fact that I was making music in and bringing music to one of the most beautiful places in Colorado and that I had become more ingrained within an amazing community.
When Erik and I were recently hired newbies, both family members and friends would make basically the same comment to me, “Wow! A summer music festival, that’s great! So, you only have to do work for it in the summer, right?” Wrong! Running a summer music festival requires year-round focus, creativity, innovation, and organization. How do we go from blank calendar to our lovely full calendar (great job on the brochure, Max!)?
Getting to know your audience:
Yes, this sounds completely cliche, but it’s true. You have to discover what interests your audience and create accordingly. The Crested Butte community is truly AMAZING! They have come up with events and parties that I couldn’t imagine anywhere else. For starters, CB is home to the world’s oldest Bike Festival (take that, Boulder!). I had no idea what “Bridges of the Butte” was until a close-to-midnight ride froze my fingers (and I don’t think we were actually even on the right route since it was pitch black outside – some accidental cheating might have been involved). Crested Buttians like adventure and aren’t afraid of risks, so we have planned accordingly.
Know your venues:
Last year, we were in a Spiegeltent; this year we are in the Center For the Arts, outdoors in Mother Nature, in the basement of a bar, in a church, and on the streets of Crested Butte. Who said that classical music has to be played in a concert hall? Let’s move it outside! Bring a picnic, hike or bike, and listen – Hike or Bike-to Outdoor Concert: Alex Komodore and Friends and Japanese Garden: Hike or Bike-to Concert.
The Crested Butte music festival is bringing music out of the hall and Making it More.
Shake it Up:
Just when you think you know what we are all about… we are shaking it up (literally, on July 5th with DJ Johnny Dynell). Of course we have some classical music, some opera, and some gypsy jazz, but we also have singer-songwriters, jazz, classical crossover, folk, performance art, and movies (full calendar) Mix it together and, voila! The CBMF 2018 calendar is complete.
Seriously, though, that is what we did. First and foremost in our minds is our goal of presenting excellent artists to the Crested Butte community and creating meaningful and fun experiences for our audiences. This overarching goal led us to the connection Leonard Bernstein.
The entire world is celebrating Bernstein this year, his 100th birthday (help us celebrate by posting on Instagram and using #BernsteinAt100 if you attend any of our Bernstein-related events). Not only did we want to be a part of this celebration, but Erik and I are huge admirers of Bernstein – his musicianship and conducting, his compositions, his arts advocacy, and his education programs. Many famous musicians seem to think that teaching and music education is somehow beneath them, but Leonard Bernstein did not share that attitude. Personally, I think one of his greatest legacies are the Young Person Concerts that he created as conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
I am terribly excited about CBMF’s 2018 season and can’t wait to see and hear some of my favorite living artists perform live in Crested Butte. I look forward to seeing you there!