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Sunday, April 11, 2010

John Oates at The Aspen Songwriters Festival



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Music Legend John Oates and The Wheeler Opera House

Team Up For

7908’ THE ASPEN SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL

SEPTEMBER 16-19, 2010



ASPEN—April 12, 2010--Singer and songwriter John Oates will host the city’s first annual songwriters festival at the Wheeler Opera House, as well as the Belly Up Aspen club and other local venues in the historic artists’ haven of Aspen, Colorado. 7,908 feet is Aspen’s altitude.



Produced by the City of Aspen with Oates aboard as executive producer, the event will feature world renowned headlining artists, alongside famous and emerging new songwriters from all musical styles to perform their favorite works for the city’s residents and visiting music lovers. Such collaborations are certain to yield some memorable performances and behind-the-scenes stories as well.



As half the legendary duo Hall & Oates and member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Oates contributes both stature and insight to the Festival. “I’m inviting songwriters from all genres,” he says, “and asking them, ‘Who have you always wanted to play with but haven’t?’ Then we’ll see what happens. There has been a tremendous response to that question. I think it will result in some really spectacular collaborations and performances. We’re also at a significant inflection point in the world of songwriting where there are these exciting cross-currents taking place between generations. We want to encourage and nurture this aspect and provide a destination where this evolution can flourish.”



Working with Oates to make 7908’ THE ASPEN SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL spectacular are the management and staff of Aspen’s 1889-vintage theater, the Wheeler Opera House. Last year, Oates and the Wheeler staged a three-part singer-songwriter series called “The Stories Behind The Songs.” “That was a great first collaboration,” says Wheeler Executive Director Gram Slaton, “and John had a lot of ideas afterwards that he wanted to explore for something bigger and better. So this festival concept seems like a logical expansion of that original songwriter series.”



A long-time resident of Aspen, Oates determined from the outset that the 2010 event wouldn’t be just another music festival. “The City of Aspen has a great tradition of bringing together the best and the brightest minds and souls in the world to be inspired, share their idea and create in one of the most beautiful places on earth,” Oates explains. “My thought was to expand that vision, to create a festival that would celebrate songwriting in its purest form—the writers, their words and their music. This is not about bands and big productions but rather an opportunity for the public to see and hear these amazingly talented songwriters in an intimate setting with high quality acoustics. It all starts with a song and we will celebrate that.”



Founded as a mining town in the late 1870s, Aspen has long been known for nourishing the arts. Starting with the Aspen Music Festival in 1949, the city has become a gathering place for musicians who have an abiding respect for nature and a sincere appreciation of each other’s talents. Musician-writers from John Denver to Burt Bacharach have staked out turf there, as have various members of The Eagles, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Joe Cocker, and many others.



“What we want to do with the Festival,” says Slaton, “is grow yet another branch on the creative aspen tree, and I can’t imagine a better partner to work with in this than John. He is so committed to every kind of music, and encouraging new songwriting talent is a real passion for him. He has originated an ongoing student songwriting competition among kids in the Roaring Fork Valley and has been jamming with everyone who comes to town from The Neville Brothers, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas to Blues Traveler and Donovan Frankenreiter. His energy is truly infectious and a wonder of nature. I think we’re going to knock this Festival out of the park its very first year.”



For more information on 7908’ THE ASPEN SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL please call Wheeler Opera House Executive Director Gram Slaton at 970-920-5790 or email him at gram.slaton@ci.aspen.co.us.

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