When it comes to the major special event on the horizon (MSEOTH – an acronym that sounds like an army from another planet) there is a lot we don’t know. We being the communal us. That’s the only thing that bothers me about the hush-hush thing coming up in about a month. When the publicly-elected town councils in Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte deliberately choose to keep public events that will impact public property from the public, that tweaks me. Everything else I sort of know about the event, but not really, sounds interesting enough to try.
Let’s start with what we really know. Based on comments made at the Tuesday night town council meeting, a national company approached the towns and ski area in April to see if they could come in and use the area for a promotion. Town representatives and many local businesses were told of the idea and they said they liked the concept. Some of the council members from both towns and most of the businesses signed a confidentiality agreement to keep it a secret. L.A. types (nice folks in skinny jeans, t-shirts, different hair) with cameras began walking around in packs shooting potential sites for their events.
The MSEOTH would happen the second weekend of September. That’s the Saturday traditionally saved for the CB Beer and Chili Festival. So that event has had to move to September 20 – the same day as Vinotok. Now that could be a mind-altering day in the mountains!
The broad concept calls for the company to fly in 1,000 contest winners (people older than my kids and a lot younger than me) to experience an over-the-top experience. It will be captured on film for TV and social media by probably another 1,000 production personnel. Part of the reason for the secrecy is the cache of the promotion and part is to avoid drawing 10,000 more people to the valley. There would be a lot of partying in Crested Butte, primarily in and around the Crested Butte bars and restaurants. Hollywood and maybe sports celebrities would be part of it. A big band would play. Local businesses would be well compensated.
Here’s what we ‘sort of’ know. Maybe there could be llamas or elephants wandering around Third and Elk. Good luck ordering a Banquet beer that weekend. The names of the band being tossed around have been all over the board from U-2 to Jay Z to Maroon 5 to Steve Snyder and the Space Janitors. In other words…who knows? The company asked for some things from town that were so over-the-top the town staff immediately said no. The streets might be painted blue. And then repainted after the event. Tons of details are fluctuating and changing. An official application has not been submitted but there are verbal understandings between the organizers and the towns. Locals and visitors over 21 years old would somehow get to play. Insider crowd estimates are closer to 6,000 than 6 million.
Oh—and while the Mt. CB council and staff have given an enthusiastic thumbs up, the downtown council and staff are still poking, prodding, what-iffing, lawyering and negotiating. Nothing new there. And it could pay off for CB, which will feel most of the impacts and thus get some significant financial benefit from the event basically in the form of rent. But as some of the council made clear Tuesday night, Crested Butte has not officially approved anything with this event. That will come August 25 when a tight plan with real details is revealed and the council (and public) can deliberate over some sort of major special event application.
But as one insider noted…”Both sides sure are pretty darn pregnant.” They sure are. Unless the event organizers still have no clue what they plan to do by August 25 or they propose some sort of human sacrifice as part of the campaign, it will be really hard for the council to justify turning down an event their staff has been spending boatloads of time and money on for the last three months.
Mayor Aaron Huckstep likened the impacts of the MSEOTH to last weekend’s Art Festival. Sort of I guess. Maybe a younger, louder, brighter, weirder Arts Festival with giraffes, Bono and fireworks. But he’s not far off the mark. And I say why not? A couple days of bright, loud weirdness that could be a lot of fun is okay with most people. Remember when we elected a mayor in part because he would jump through fire rings in the parades? This might test the boundary but doesn’t sound out of the comfort zone…at least the part that we sort of but do not really know about. Frankly, I’m less excited about publicity for the area than the potential spectacle of it all.
And that’s the only thing wrong with this pregnancy…we still have no idea what the baby is going to look like when he or she pops out…but maybe that’s part of the charm.