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Vail Valley Foundation to open Ford Amphitheater Saturday for movie night

July 7, 2020, 3:41 pm

The following is a press release from the Vail Valley Foundation on the reopening of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Saturday and updates on other summer and fall programming:

Summer has been good to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in one particular way: its pavilion, grounds and gardens are looking more beautiful than ever.

“We’ve had ample time to paint, plant, and fine-tune everything to bring this venue into pristine condition,” said Tom Boyd, Director of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater for the Vail Valley Foundation. “Now it’s time to open the gates and welcome our neighbors and friends back into this incredible place.”

The Vail Valley Foundation today announced plans for a July 11 opening of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Capacity will be limited according to public health order guidelines, and guests will be asked to follow new venue protocols.

The Vail Valley Foundation also provided updates and news across all its events and activities in arts, athletics, and education:

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

The Vail Valley Foundation will open the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater July 11 with the first installment of a new Saturday evening Movie Night at The Amp cinema series, which will show movies on the venue’s 23×9-foot, very bright, video screen, with accompanying audio through the venue’s extensive speaker system.

“The movies will be crystal clear, even in the daytime,” Boyd said.

Movie nights on The Amp’s lawn begin Saturday, July 11, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. and showtimes at 6:30 p.m., and are expected to continue to late August. The first shows will be “Trolls World Tour” July 11, “Remember the Titans” July 18, and Teton Gravity Research’s new mountain bike film “Accomplice” July 25.  

Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. today at grfavail.com for “Trolls World Tour” and “Remember the Titans”. Capacity in the 2,600-seat venue currently will be limited to 175 for Movie Nights, lawn only. Future Movie Nights at The Amp tickets will go onsale, online, 10 days in advance of the show at 11 a.m.

If you go…

What: Movie Night at The Amp

When: Saturdays starting July 11 with “Trolls World Tour”. Gates 5:30 p.m., showtime 6:30 p.m.

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 & under

Capacity: 175 available tickets, lawn only (subject to change)

More: Tickets available online at grfavail.com

Movie Night at The Amp programming is expected to continue into late August, with additional movie selections to be announced in late July.


Tuesday, July 14, will mark the return of the free Hot Summer Nights concert series to The Amp with a performance from Andrew McConathy and the Drunken Hearts. This will be followed by The Shakedown Bar Family Band on July 21, and Grant Farm on July 28.

Hot Summer Nights is expected to continue into late August, with additional bands announced in late July. The venue will be divided into two sections, “East” and “West”, with each side limited to a capacity of 175. Each section will be general admission, have its own entrance, exit, restrooms and concessions, and will have lawn and pavilion seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Ticketholders will be asked to maintain social distancing protocols while in their seats. For more information visit grfavail.com/covid19-policy/.

Tickets are available beginning 11 a.m. today for Andrew McConathy and the Drunken Hearts. Tickets will be available at 11 a.m. 10 days in advance of future Hot Summer Nights shows. Tickets are free and general admission, but must be reserved online. When reserving a ticket, guests will have the option to include a suggested donation to the “Turn Up The Amp” matching fund (see below for more).

If you go…

What: Hot Summer Nights

When: Tuesdays starting July 14. Gates 5:30 p.m., showtime 6:30 p.m.

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Cost: Free, ticket required

Capacity: 350 available tickets (175 per section)

More: Tickets available online at grfavail.com

Make all Hot Summer Nights ticket reservations online. For more information on tickets and reservations, call 970.845.TIXS (8497).


The Bravo! Vail Music Festival will return with seven Chamber Concert events at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Events begin July 16 and run through Aug. 6. Details on concert programming, tickets, and more are available at BravoVail.org.


The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will also host the popular community events like art classes from Alpine Arts Center, Betty Ford Alpine Garden’s “Chefs in the Garden” and more. Visit grfavail.com for more.


Concessions at The Amp will be limited in comparison to years’ past. Guests can expect a revised selection of beer, white/red/sparkling wine, vodka, tequila, kombucha, canned cocktails, water, soda, chips, popcorn, candy, and cheese plates. The grill is not expected to open in 2020, however, guests are allowed to bring in their own food. A limited number of concessions windows will be open based on capacity.


The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater has instituted important new safety protocols, including increased cleaning and disinfecting, touchless entry, limited capacity within the venue, and face covering policies.

The venue bag policy has changed as well: only clear bags will be allowed in order to help maintain touchless entry. Guests may bring commercially-sealed, non-alcoholic beverages and food, blankets, and low-profile folding chairs with less than 5-inch-long legs, among other items. The Amp will not be renting chairs this season. Learn more HERE.

Face coverings will be required to enter and must be worn in ‘Common Areas’ of the venue, but may be removed once a guest or family group is properly seated and socially distanced. Maximum family group size is eight. The venue typically holds up to 2,600 spectators. With a max capacity of 175-ticketed visitors per side, there will be ample room to properly social distance within the outdoor venue.

“We expect a fun, festive atmosphere, but we will also be counting on our guests to strictly follow our safety and health protocols, because not doing so could compromise the health and safety of others, and endanger our ability to provide continued events this summer,” Boyd said.

For more on the venue’s updated protocols and policies, please visit grfavail.com/covid19-policy.

Support the arts and ‘Turn Up The Amp’

The opening of The Amp will coincide with the launch of a new matching fundraising campaign.

Each donation made to the “Turn Up The Amp” Fund this July and August will be multiplied due to support from a variety of venue sponsors and partners. Sponsors will individually match each donation made, up to $10,000, allowing each dollar donated to create more than five times the impact and to provide important support for programming and operations this summer at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

Participating match sponsors include: GMC, TIAA Bank, Nature Valley, Pacifico, Aperol, Epsolon Tequila, BluSky Restoration Contractors, Encore Electric, Meiomi Wine, Holy Cross Energy, Deep Eddy Vodka and Cocktail Squad.

The Town of Vail additionally remains an important and valued partner and will continue its support of the VVF and the Ford Amphitheater this summer.

“We are fortunate to have the Town of Vail, local and national sponsors, and a community that understands the value of the arts and of this spectacular venue,” said Dave Dressman, VP of Sponsorship and Sales for the Vail Valley Foundation, which operates The Amp. “This is an incredibly difficult time for events and live entertainment, and yet it’s something that can bring much-needed joy and happiness to all of us. We thank everyone for helping support this cause in our valley.”

Individuals looking to help support the venue can make donations in any amount, at any time, or at the time of their ticket purchase, by visiting grfavail.com/donate.

Vilar Performing Arts Center

Programming is expanding at the indoor, 530-seat Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. The acclaimed Thursday evening “Ghost Light Sessions” livestreams are available online at vilarpac.org, and tickets are now available for in-person attendance, up to a 100-person max capacity per show.

Upcoming shows include:

July 9: Bonfire Dub

July 16: Tierro Band with Bridget Law

July 23: Tenth Mountain Division

July 30: Trace Bundy

Aug. 6: Jubilingo

Aug. 20: The Burroughs

Aug. 27: Elephant Collective

Tickets are available online at vilarpac.org. For more information about ticketing, contact the box office 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday at 970-845-TIXS (8497).

Also available to VPAC members, a virtual chamber music series of artistic and technical brilliance from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center called Front Row: National. These private online events will be presented in the May Gallery at 3 p.m. every Wednesday from July 15 until August 5 and be available for five days thereafter to VPAC patrons, featuring unique digital content and a live introduction from the featured artist. To learn more, or to become a VPAC member, contact the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

The VPAC is planning on adding additional content throughout the summer. Visit vilarpac.org for more.

GoPro Mountain Games Elements

The Vail Valley Foundation will also host several GoPro Mountain Games Elements events that will encapsulate portions of the GoPro Mountain Games into single events on select Saturdays.

The GoPro Mountain Games typically occur in early June, and welcome more than 80,000 spectators over a four-day event that is heralded as the beginning of summertime in the mountains.

Mountain Games Elements begin with a free Yoga class from Arielle Shipe on July 18, in the ‘Lower Bench’ area of Ford Park (adjacent to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater).

More Mountain Games Elements are expected to be announced in late July. Spaces are limited based on state and county guidelines. Register early to reserve your spot at  mountaingames.com.

Xfinity Birds of Prey

Organizers said that it was too early to tell the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup, but that the event is still a “go” for now, with further information expected by late summer/early fall.


The Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 education programming is continuing, with modifications, this summer.

YouthPower365’s Steadman Clinic COPA soccer program gets under way July 12, and already has over 400 participants. The summer program will operate according to Eagle County Public Health’s athletic guidelines and will include Collegiate Division 1 and professional soccer players in coaching roles and a host of creative soccer drills and games to help keep participants active and healthy. Learn more at youthpower365.org/event/the-steadman-clinic-copa/.

YouthPower365’s PwrHrs Summer Camps are also now under way. Campers are returning to a vibrant mix of academic-based projects and traditional summer camp favorite activities allowed within social distancing protocols. Scavenger hunts, hikes, gardening, fishing, geocaching, orienteering, Adventure Races, yoga, tennis, soccer golf, dance, running challenges, kite making, recycling activities, river clean-ups, squirt gun painting, vision boards, origami, pinata paper mache, DIY masks, and skits/drama are all being considered for possible activities. 

Learn more at youthpower365.org.


The VVF’s YouthPower365 also recently revealed its all-new electric Magic Bus. Year’s in the design and making, the all-electric mobile preschool is one of the first vehicles of its kind in the nation.

The vehicle was supported by generous donations, grants, and in-kind donations from the Gates Family Foundation, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, Regional Air Quality Council, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, EpicPromise Vail Resorts, Daniels Fund, Gallegos, Holy Cross Energy, Eagle County, Beaver Creek, Town of Avon, New Electric, Summit Bodyworks, Ewing Trucking & Construction, Winnebego Specialty Vehicles, First Chair Designs, Vail Honeywagon, OpConnect, and Alice Feagan.

“This is an amazing project to be a part of, and we look forward to when we can welcome our children into our new Magic Bus!” said Sarah Johnson, Senior Vice President of Education and the Arts for the Vail Valley Foundation, and Executive Director of YouthPower365.

Johnson said that Magic Bus programming will continue with socially-distanced neighborhood gatherings soon; however welcoming young people onto the Magic Bus is not yet allowed under public health guidelines.

Star Dancing Gala

The Star Dancing Gala, which is usually held in July at the Vail Valley Jet Center each year, has been cancelled for 2020. The event, which brings hundreds together for an evening of live dancing, entertainment, and fundraising for YouthPower365 education initiatives, brings in more than a third of YouthPower365’s annual funding. The organization said it will be hosting a fundraising initiative throughout the summer and looks forward to welcoming the Star Dancing Gala back next summer on July 13, 2021.

“We are so grateful to everyone who supports our organization, and while we aren’t able to gather together this year, we will need support for our incredible youth and families now more than ever,” Johnson said. “We look forward to hosting the event again next year!”

Support YouthPower365’s fundraising initiative at youthpower365.org.

Vail Dance Festival

The Vail Valley Foundation’s Vail Dance Festival will present an all-digital edition of the Festival July 31 – August 7 available online. The event will also include a special, in-person, ticketed Digital Edition screening at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater July 31.

Tickets to the screening will be available online at vaildance.org beginning at 11 a.m. July 21. For more information on tickets, call 970-748-TIXS (8497). Box office hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Capacity for the in-person screening will be determined by public health guidelines.

The Dance Festival’s Digital Edition will feature unique performances from the past 10 years including debuts and revivals that have only been seen in Vail, a world premiere choreographed by Bobbi Jene Smith made in and for the virtual space, plus a range of educational programming including Passing Balanchine On with Heather Watts and Damian Woetzel, and Conversations On Dance with Rebecca King Ferraro and Michael Sean Breeden. 

The Digital Festival will be free to watch for a limited time, and streamed to the Vail Dance Festival’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Visit vaildance.org for more information.

ShowDown Town 2020 concerts cancelled

The Town of Eagle and Vail Valley Foundation also announced that the Alpine Bank ShowDown Town concert series would be cancelled in 2020.

The  Alpine Bank ShowDown Town concert series in the Eagle Town Park has been provided as a free service due to a wide array of partnerships: the event has been operated as a project of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, in partnership with the Town of Eagle, title sponsored by Alpine Bank, and supported by local and regional sponsors, since its inception 24 years ago.

The limited capacity of the venue under public health orders, the open nature of the venue, and the need for a longer period of advance planning to find funding, security, staffing, and to develop quality logistical planning, were all reasons cited by organizers in deciding to forego the 2020 season.

“We recognize and understand how much these concerts are loved and appreciated by our community and our visitors, but this is not something we are comfortable moving forward with in 2020,” said Brian Hall. “We are already planning for a great season in 2021 and look forward to bring it back next year.”

Organizers said they were looking forward to bringing the free programming back to the community in 2021.

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