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Vail to increase funding for two early-season events

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Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats performed at Vail Snow Days in 2018. Businesses, from retailers to restaurants to lodges, benefit from the boost that big events can provide early in the season.
Chris Dillmann / Daily archive photo

Vail City Council on Tuesday agreed to provide an additional $ 480,000 to two early ski season events.

The weeks between Vails opening day and Christmas vacation can be pretty quiet. Events add a certain rebound to these days. With that in mind, the board asked staff to find additional funds to improve these events, each of which caters to a somewhat different audience.

The board has agreed to increase funding for the December Powabunga Festival, scheduled for December 9-12, from approximately $ 120,000 to $ 300,000. The additional funding will help improve the talent to reserve.



Full Send Productions promoter Austin Gavlak noted that the 2019 version of Powabunga has attracted 6,000 paying customers. In addition to music with heated VIP seats and other amenities, Gavlak said the festival will bring Red Rocks level sound and lighting to Ford Park.

Gavlak said his company has a contract ready to be presented to Rufus Du Soul, a currently popular Australian trio.



City support brings more support

Vails’ total expenses for the event represent approximately 20% of Powabunga’s budget. But, Gavlak said, the additional support from the city would increase Full Sends’ ability to sign high profile deeds. Gavlak said Full Send wants to create something that people are motivated to attend.

After more than a year of fallow, James Deighan has relaunched Highline Sports & Entertainment, a longtime partner of the city and Vail Resorts. After the 2020 cancellations, Highline is promoting Vails Gourmet on the Gore and Oktoberfest events in September.

Highline is also the promoter of Snow Days, a long-lasting weekend festival at the start of the ski season.

The preliminary request for Snow Days was for a festival on the same dates as Powabunga, but Deighan said the event could be scheduled for another early-season weekend.

Deighan came to the board with a request for $ 300,000. As with Powabunga, the city’s contribution will only be part of the total budget for the event.

Deighan said he has spoken to officials at Vail Resorts, but the company has not made a firm commitment to support.

Council members were reluctant to allocate so much money, especially since the city has an event funding system.

Great demand

That’s a big demand this time of year, said chief executive Scott Robson. While acknowledging that both event producers bring a great track record with their applications, Robson said staff recommended sticking to existing funding requests.

But board member Jenn Bruno said she believed the funding requests would have been granted in a normal year.

Not only is Vail expected to host these kinds of events, but I think there is room for both, Bruno said, adding that the business community from retailers to restaurants to the lodges, benefits from the influx of people at the start of the season. major events.

Both Deighan and Gavlak said events could be timed and timed to attract different audiences.

It’s not an opportunity that would normally be here for Vail, Gavlak said.

Council member Kevin Foley said hosting two events in December could provide an opportunity to gain an edge over competing stations.

If we can create a buzz, it will hold us well into the season, Foley said. I’m inclined to say let’s take the risk.

Mayor Dave Chapin congratulated Deighan and Gavlak for their willingness to work together to organize complementary events. And, he added, he was hearing a strong message from board members that Vail needs to be fun again.

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