Free events abound at TACAW this summer

Aspen Daily News (April 9, 2024)—Who doesn’t love free?

There may be no performing arts organization in the Roaring Fork Valley that puts on more free events than The Arts Campus at Willits. This offseason, several are scheduled that won’t cost you a nickel to attend.

TACAW Executive Director Ryan Honey said 29% of the 167 public events held last year had free admission. The nonprofit is hoping to build on that figure in 2024, he said.

“This year, we aim to outdo ourselves and beat that number,” Honey said. “The JW Francis and Paul Cherry show and our inaugural Listening Party featuring Pearl Jam will help us get there. We are proud to be a place where anyone in the community can enjoy arts, culture, and entertainment without worrying about the price tag.”

Tonight’s free event is a symposium called “Hanging in the Balance: Competing Needs for Water in the West.”

Presented by Aspen Journalism and Colorado Water Trust in partnership with TACAW and Aspen Public Radio, the symposium will feature a panel discussion on the challenges regarding the increasing demand for water as supply is decreasing. The panel will examine this issue of how to balance the needs of environment, recreation and agriculture with a limited resource.

A cash bar with hosted snacks opens at 5:15 p.m. and the discussion is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m. The panel will be moderated by Heather Sackett and features Kate Ryan, Hattie Johnson and Mark Harris. 

On Friday, indie outsiders turned accidental Spotify success stories JW Francis and Paul Cherry will bring their unique blend of lo-fi jangly guitar music for two solo sets by each artist. Each will play a solo set, with some cross-pollination happening with the two artists.

The rock band Pearl Jam will release its 13th album, “Dark Matter,” on April 19 and TACAW is using the release as a way to launch a new program called “Listening Party” where people can come out and have an immersive listening party around an album.

This happy-hour event will gather music lovers to enjoy community, refreshments, and listen to a new or cherished record, selected by a guest curator.

The first curator is Honey, who has been a member of the 10 Club (Pearl Jam’s fan club) since they started in 1991 and he will be on hand to mingle with fellow Pearl Jam enthusiasts, swap stories and revel in the collective excitement of experiencing new music together. As the TACAW website says, “Flannel shirts and Doc Martens are optional, but strongly encouraged.”

April 30, Jazz Aspen Snowmass presents International Jazz Day Student Showcase, which will highlight many of the top student jazz bands in the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond. This year’s performance will include bands from Aspen, Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Coal Ridge high schools. The event is free and open to the public.

May 16, TACAW presents a symposium on the issue of light pollution. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the talk begins at 7 p.m. “About Stars and Stripes: Preserving the Night Skies” features Jeffrey Hall, who will tackle the topic of light pollution from the standpoint of its connection to other issues of how we care for our planet.

Hall is executive director of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and will share Lowell’s ongoing legacy of cutting-edge research of our solar system and beyond using the Lowell Discovery Telescope, and how that research began to be challenged by the quiet, steady invasion of light pollution. As a result, Dr. Hall worked extensively on dark sky preservation in Flagstaff and throughout Arizona. His dedication resulted in Flagstaff becoming the World’s First International Dark Sky City in 2001.

June 1, TACAW will host a free community event for all things connected to the river. This year, The Roaring Fork Conservancy’s “runoff party” has moved to TACAW. The idea is to get ready for the summer on the river, from tying a fly, to river etiquette and safety. Whether novices or experts, the idea of the event is to get river-ready for the summer. There will be food trucks, gear vendors and more.

Aspen Daily News
Author: Geoff Hanson
Read the original Aspen Daily News article.