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Vail Valley Foundation radically revamps its summer 2020 schedule

May 14, 2020, 5:07 pm

The Vail Valley Foundation on Thursday put out the following press release on the revamping of all of its 2020 summer programming to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including cancellation of the GoPro Mountain Games:

The Vail Valley Foundation today announced its plans for summer programming across all its activities, programs, and venues.

Since 1981, the Vail Valley Foundation has provided a wide range of nonprofit services to fulfill its mission to enhance quality of life in the Vail Valley and showcase the Eagle County community to a global audience through arts, athletics, and education.

GoPro Mountain Games
The GoPro Mountain Games are cancelled.

Vail Valley Foundation President Mike Imhof said today that although the novel coronavirus pandemic has significantly altered the organization’s plans, that the Vail Valley Foundation would still be doing all it can, within the boundary of state and county Public Health Orders, to continue its role and bring vitality to the community.

Recently, the organization helped raise more than $1.2 million as part of its VVF Community Matching Fund to support four critical areas of need in the community. The organization has also led the creation of the Private Sector Task Force groups, which have become an essential tool to organize and communicate with county Public Health officials on behalf of local businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations throughout the county.

“It is in our mission to raise quality of life for all, and in this case that means adapting to a new situation, leading where we can, doing what is right for the health of our people and our economy, and caring for the well-being of everyone who takes part in all our programming and events,” Imhof said. “This work will continue in any and every way that it can.”

“Much of our education programming can go on with adaptations to social distancing requirements,” Imhof said. “However, many of our events are designed to bring large groups of people together for major international events, or large concerts, and based on the current public health landscape, we do not believe events of this type and size will be feasible by July or August.”

Explanation of the current Eagle County Public Health Order

The VVF’s plans are built in context with the latest Eagle County Public Health Order, announced in late April, that is designed to transition the community through a recovery from COVID-19. Social distancing will be required throughout the entire process until all health orders are lifted (for more visit http://ecemergency.org).

  • Green Circle, gatherings of up to 10 people
  • Blue Square, gatherings of up to 25-50 people
  • Black Diamond, gatherings of up to 250 people

See below for more information about the Vail Valley Foundation’s events, venues, and programs.

GoPro Mountain Games

The Vail Valley Foundation had rescheduled from the original June 4-7 dates to Aug. 20-23, but today announced that GoPro Mountain Games will not occur in 2020. The organization is pursuing several avenues to keep the spirit of the GoPro Mountain Games alive throughout the summer and is already planning for next year’s event, scheduled for June 10-13, 2021.

“The Mountain Games is such an enormous and integral part of the VVF, the community and beyond and it is an event we, and thousands of others, look forward to each year with great anticipation. Unfortunately, an international event like this is simply not possible until we have completely stabilized from the coronavirus,” said Dave Dressman, Vice President of Sales and Sponsorship for the Vail Valley Foundation.

The Vail Valley Foundation will lift spirits by hosting a virtual concert featuring several of the bands who would have performed live at this year’s event as well as past GoPro Mountains of Music Performers. This virtual concert event will take place on June 4, the day the Mountain Games was planned to begin, and will be co-produced by the VVF and its partner, “Jam in the Van,” known for creating widely-viewed, original musical performances on its YouTube channel. The online event will include performances by Twiddle, G. Love, Citizen Cope, Deer Tick, Ghost of Paul Revere and a ‘Bluegrass Superjam’ and others. Additional information forthcoming.

More than 150 sponsors and 82,000 spectators attended the GoPro Mountain Games in 2019.

The Vail Valley Foundation will continue to find creative ways to engage with fans, athletes, participants, spectators, and outdoor brands throughout the summer.

“Our mountain community may not be able to gather like years’ past, but we will still be out there on the river, on the trail, or anywhere that we can safely get outside and do what we love the most,” Dressman said.

For more on the GoPro Mountain Games, or to learn more about how your athlete registration will be affected, visit mountaingames.com.

Vail Dance Festival

The Vail Dance Festival will cancel all in-person performances for the 2020 season, a decision made in the interest of the safety and well-being of artists, staff and audiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Festival plans to present a digital festival of unique performances from past seasons during the intended time of the 2020 Festival, and preparations are under way for the return of live performances starting with opening night on July 30, 2021.

“We had hoped to be able to present some version of the Festival this summer, but with great reluctance have now concluded that it is simply not safe to do so,” said Vail Dance Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel. “The Vail Dance Festival is a place of intense collaboration among our artists, and we look forward to the creative energy that will be more powerful than ever when we are all able to be together again next summer.”

Woetzel said the Festival will unveil a digital event during the planned July 31-Aug 11 dates, which will include unique performances and commissions from past Vail seasons, as well as online forums and educational content featuring dance and music luminaries.

“It is difficult to think about not having the Festival this summer in Vail, but we will continue to connect through dance from a distance until we can gather again in person,” said Sarah Johnson, Vail Valley Foundation Senior Vice President for Education & the Arts. “We are committed to making decisions this year to protect the health and well-being of our community in the short-term while ensuring the future viability of this incredible Festival for years to come.”

The Vail Dance Festival relies on donations and ticket purchases to plan, produce and sustain the world-renowned Festival. In order to ensure this excellence returns in 2021, organizers ask that ticketholders consider donating their ticket purchase to the Vail Dance Festival, or credit the value of tickets to a purchase next season. Ticketholders also have the option to receive refunds. Donations will provide operational support and help ensure the future of the Vail Dance Festival.

Visit vaildance.org for more, or contact the box office at (970) 845-8497.

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Hot Summer Nights, and ShowDown Town

The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will host a shortened season in 2020, welcoming small events of under 250 people only during the “black diamond” phase of Eagle County’s Public Health Order.

“This venue is at the heart of our community both culturally and geographically, and we very much have a role to play to bring together the people that we can, in any way we can, and to hopefully bring light and life to everyone we are fortunate enough to welcome to our venue this summer,” said Amphitheater Director Tom Boyd.

“We will remain as agile as possible to opportunities that open up in late summer or early September,” Boyd said.

The Ford Amphitheater hosts a wide array of events each year, from graduations and community events, to art classes in the evenings, as well as weddings and concerts.

It has also played host to the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Vail Dance Festival, and Hot Summer Nights free concert series for more than thirty years. More recently it has hosted headliner concerts and performing arts events in partnership with AEG Presents.

Bravo! Vail has canceled its regular programming but is exploring opportunities to still fulfill its mission by offering musical experiences that could include both smaller live performances and concerts delivered online throughout the summer (learn more at bravovail.org). The Vail Dance Festival and all concerts in partnership with AEG Presents have been postponed or canceled. The annual Fourth of July Patriotic Concert, held in partnership with Bravo! Vail, has also been canceled.

Boyd said the VVF is exploring ways to keep Hot Summer Nights concerts on the calendar during the late Summer.

“Even if we solely focus on our local music community and bring people together in smaller groups to enjoy local and regional bands, we very much want to continue to be active and give our community some form of live music,” he said.

Hot Summer Nights performance dates and artists are yet to be determined, and Boyd said that he and the staff of the Ford Amphitheater are building a social distancing plan that would stay in keeping with public health guidance.

“We are doing everything we can, within guidelines, to bring as much joy as possible in a time where frankly it’s needed most,” Boyd said.

The venue is also exploring the idea of hosting “Movie Night at The Amp” by playing classic movies and documentaries on its big screen, and is working to expand partnerships with local businesses to utilize the venue in creative ways for yoga, fitness, art and music classes throughout the summer. The venue will also be available to rent for events that are able to fit within public health guidelines.

For more about the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater or for questions about tickets to an event there, visit grfavail.com.

ShowDown Town

The Vail Valley Foundation is also exploring a modified version of the ShowDown Town free summer concerts in Eagle.

The organization hopes that Eagle County can achieve the Black Diamond phase of the public health order by early July when the first concert is currently planned. Organizers would then limit the number of live attendees and enact guidelines to meet all public health orders in the Eagle Town Park venue.

Plans for an event of this type will be determined by the success of the Public Health Order.

Vilar Performing Arts Center

The Vilar Performing Arts Center will be postponing or canceling all headliner artists between now and the end of August but is evaluating opportunities for hosting smaller events in light of Eagle County Health’s latest Public Health Order.

The venue recently held a successful new virtual music series dubbed the “Ghost Light Sessions” with local bands playing to an empty theater. The Ghost Light Sessions will continue, said Executive Director Duncan Horner, as will the theater’s role in the local community and in the region, even if these efforts remain virtual in the coming weeks and months.

“This is a place that people have come to truly love, not only our spectators and staff, but also our wonderful volunteers and the artists that have come to play here,” Horner said. “We understand that we can’t host the summer that we wanted to, but we remain optimistic and hopeful that we will have the ability to come together again at the VPAC soon.”

The Vilar Performing Arts Center’s updated summer schedule is as follows:

Allman Betts Band: Rescheduled for June 27, 2021
Keb’ Mo’: Rescheduled for July 6, 2021
Kenny G: Rescheduled for July 10, 2021
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder: Postponed, date to be announced
LeAnn Rimes: Postponed, date to be announced
An Evening with Robert Earl Keen: Postponed, date to be announced
Average White Band: Postponed, date to be announced
The Electric Light Orchestra Experience 50th Anniversary: Postponed, date to be announced

The Vilar Performing Arts Center relies on underwriting and ticket purchases to operate, produce and sustain its extraordinary programming. In order to ensure this excellence returns, organizers ask that ticketholders consider donating the value of your ticket back to the venue. These donations will provide operational support and help secure the future of the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

Visit vilarpac.org for more or contact the box office at (970) 845-8497.


The Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 education activity will continue for the most part, with some exceptions as well as some modifications.

“We understand that this is a time where it is difficult to plan ahead,” said Sarah Johnson, Senior Vice President of Education & the Arts for the Vail Valley Foundation. “We are ready to adapt and help out our families and students in every way we can.”

The organization has also rescheduled its annual fundraiser, the Star Dancing Gala, for September.

Below is a program-by-program look at summer expectations for the organization. To register, or to receive continued updates on any of the programs below, visit youthpower365.org or follow YouthPower365 on Facebook.

Magic Bus: The Magic Bus will restart operations in accordance with Eagle County Public Health Orders and when approved by state licensing. The Magic Bus will follow best practices for social distancing, sanitation and adhere to all licensing protocols. Currently, one Magic Bus is being utilized by Colorado Mountain Medical to support COVID-19 antibody testing.

COPA Soccer: Potential dates: July 6 – Aug. 9, pending social distancing requirements. The Steadman Clinic COPA Soccer program inspires and enriches communities by providing games to support positive youth development and community building opportunities for children ages 6-17. Coaches have developed creative, fun, and unique approaches to the game to ensure social distancing protocols are followed if and when Eagle County Public Health Orders allow for contact sports, like soccer, to resume.

HER Film Camp: Postponed until Fall 2020. The HER Film Camp is a girl-specific film school designed for middle and high-school girls to interpret their view of the world into short film format.

Adventure Camps: Adventure Camps are canceled for 2020.

Celebrate the Beat All Stars and Pop Hop Camp:  Expected dates June 1-June 30. These two camps will be combined into one fun and exciting, virtual dance camp. The camps will start with a zoom meeting for warm-ups at 10 a.m., then kids run through independent practice during the day, and meet again at 3 p.m. for a daily wrap up. During the week, groups can jump into live classes if their schedules permit. Organizers are hoping to bring celebrity dancers into the sessions.

PwrHrs Summer Camps, Elementary and Middle Schools:  Plans depend on the availability of Eagle County Public School buildings and bussing per Eagle County’s Public Health Order. Current planning includes options to offer school-based camp with smaller groups at each school building and/or neighborhood-based youth activations in “pop-up” style locations in neighborhoods throughout the valley revolving around social emotional support through outdoor enrichment activities, utilizing a drop-in format. All programming will adhere to social distancing protocols.

Highschool Hyperdrive:  This program is canceled. Outgoing 8th graders are welcome to join the Middle School PwrHrs Activation Activities.

Camp College: Online-only support will allow students to connect with their independent guide to gain insights on the steps to take in preparation of applying for college, internships and apprenticeships.

Very Young Composers: The in-person program is canceled for Summer 2020. Virtual offerings are being explored.

COVID-19 Youth Response Project: High Five Access Media and YouthPower365 are partnering with local high schoolers to share their youth perspectives and experiences related to COVID-19. Within an artistic or journalistic medium of their choice, students will tell their stories individually and as a group that will result in a final product to be shared online, through social media, and other platforms. As part of the project, students will receive expert technical assistance, mentoring, training, and peer critique and feedback. In addition to community-wide exposure, student work will be judged by a professional committee for prizes.

Visit youthpower365.org for more information.

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