This story first appeared in The Outsider, the premium outdoor newsletter by Jason Blevins.
In it, he covers the industry from the inside out, plus the fun side of being outdoors in our beautiful state.
Live Nation is not bringing its Seven Peaks festival back to the San Luis Valley, marking yet another move for the three-day country music concert.
The world’s largest concert promoter got cross with Chaffee County commissioners over plans for the 2022 Seven Peaks festival at The Meadows in Buena Vista so the promoter moved the event to the San Luis Valley.
The Labor Day Weekend festival drew about 12,000 concertgoers for three nights of camping and music on a private parcel outside tiny Villa Grove. By all local accounts, the gathering went smoothly.
“Very well, really. I personally think it went better than I expected,” Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick said.
So Saguache County officials were surprised when Live Nation told them last month that the event would not be returning to the San Luis Valley.
“For no expressed reason,” Saguache County Commissioner Tom McCracken said.
Live Nation promised officials the event would not burden local law enforcement. The promoter worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol along with local businesses and law enforcement to make sure the event did not overwhelm the rural valley.
“Live Nation did everything I asked. There was never any issues with them at all,” Warwick said. “I don’t think there was a negative impact, that I could see, to any local businesses or resources. Everything went very well.”
Calls and emails to Live Nation representatives were not returned. It is unclear if the festival will happen this year in another location.
Last go-round, ticket sales for the Sept. 2-4 event began in the spring, before Live Nation had secured all the required permits from Chaffee County. The county’s commissioners and health officials wanted to limit attendance as a pandemic-related precaution and that was an issue. Live Nation officials told Chaffee County commissioners it needed to begin marketing the 2022 concert in the spring to make sure it could sell enough tickets.
Eventually the company left Buena Vista for Villa Grove.
“I think it’s horrible they are not coming back,” Warwick said. “I really enjoyed it and I think it was good for the valley as a whole to bring something like that. It was something we don’t see in the valley very often.”
None of event’s social media channels have mentioned a 2023 concert or lineup and comments on the festival’s latest posts from February are heavy with concerns about dates, ticket sales and the potential of the event not happening.
Seven Peaks Festival founder Dierks Bentley in early May told the “Taste of Country” podcast that the festival he started in 2019 in Buena Vista was a challenge in the San Luis Valley.
“There was no electricity out there and not very good cell service and not many amenities. It was kind of a hard place to do it,” Bentley said in the May 3 podcast. “We didn’t make any money. We lost millions of dollars. And I think Live Nation was like ‘we need to find a way to make money.’”
Bentley said “there’s a possibility” of the event moving to Red Rocks this year.
“After five years it might be nice to see how it works in a place near civilization,” he said.