Balling on a Budget with Earth Wind & Fire
A lot of people ask me what it’s like residing in a town that boasts some of the highest costs of living in the country while making a bus boy’s salary. While I’ve eaten my fair share of Ramen Noodles living here, the affordable access to entertainment is constant.
Last Saturday night, I approached the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen where the legendary Earth Wind & Fire graced the stage thanks to the efforts of Jazz Aspen Snowmass. Tickets into the show were a little out of my budget, ranging up to almost 200 bucks the day of, and so my friends and I set up camp outside the tent.
Watching Jazz Aspen Concerts on the Lawn at the Benedict Music Tent
The 2,055 person capacity tent was completely full, but we were happy to sit amongst the outside audience and watch through the slats left open for those of us who preferred to attend for free. Outside it looked like a music festival, with food stands, bars, lights, and banners. Before the sun had descended and the concert began, lawn chairs and picnic blankets were placed, hammocks hung between the Aspen trees, and people passed beer and wine awaiting the set. My friends and I brought in a case of Miller Lites, “The Champagne of Beers”. Only the finest for a night on the town in Aspen.
The crowd outside of the stadium featured all members of the Aspen community. Young people looking for a night of fun boozed and boogied to the soulful sounds escaping the tent. Older Earth Wind & Fire devotees danced alongside them smiling throughout the entire evening. Kids and their parents bonded over their mutual appreciation for the music and a beautiful night in the mountains.
We all watched the band through the pillars on the exterior of the tent structure, which was also where the sound quality was best as there were no outside speakers. From my spot, I could at least watch lead singer Phillip Bailey’s head as he wailed long R & B screams that brought the entire audience standing in elation. Bailey dawned a pair of sparkling blue pants that would have made the 70’s proud. We grooved through classics like “Boogie Wonderland”, “September”, and countless others. When we stood on benches, we could see the army of percussionists that rocked the set, flipping their drumsticks and kicking the cymbals when the energy was really flowing.
The energy of the night was incredible. The glow of the sunset lingered until almost 10 o’clock, and the crowd danced for the entire time. We millennials kept our money in our pockets and still enjoyed a fantastic summer night in Aspen. Toward the end of the night, I stopped an older gentleman who was leaving early and he graciously gave me his ticket which allowed me to get closer to the full ensemble and watch them perform from the middle of the stands. Being inside was an incredible experience, but there’s nothing wrong with partying outside of the tent with the Aspen community listening to one of the most successful bands of all time, free of charge.