Music: From Hole to Hall
By Johanna Love, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: January 10, 2013
A July Fourth Jackson Hole tradition has come to an end. Or at least it’s changing so much as to be unrecognizable.
Music In The Hole, a combination of musical talent that climaxed with a free performance by the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, won’t be held at Alpine Field this Independence Day.
Instead, organizers of the music festival plan a new format.
The orchestra will play at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village, and the performance will be broadcast by Wyoming PBS onto giant screens for viewers in the Village Commons and at the base of Snow King Mountain.
Finances played a role in the festival’s decision to end the old event and design a new one.
Margaretha “Margot” Walk, president of the festival, said the revamped event will be a new tradition.
“We feel it’s an idea whose time has come,” Walk said.
The event, held since 1997, typically drew as many as 10,000 people for a party that started the summer and the Grand Teton Music Festival’s season. The classical performance always capped an afternoon of activity at Alpine Field, where people staged elaborate picnics and basked in the sun. During the hours preceding the orchestra performance, local music groups played. The orchestra then played patriotic songs, American classics such as Gershwin and, always, “The 1812 Overture.” The event drew probably the biggest crowd of any event in the valley.
Under the new setup, after the Walk Hall concert concludes there will be live music at Snow King and in the commons until dark, when fireworks begin.
Jackson Mayor Mark Barron offered to underwrite a performance by the Young Dubliners, Walk said.
The cost of Music In The Hole was one reason for the change, Walk said.
The concert in recent years has cost about $150,000. That included a big covered stage, setting up sound equipment and paying staff. A budget for the new plan isn’t final, said Steve Friedlander, the managing director of artistic operation for the festival.
The new plan drew mixed reviews.
“I don’t think it will be the same experience,” said Rachel Stam, an attendee for many years.
The Young Dubs would likely draw her to the base of the King, she said, but she’ll miss the live orchestra.
“A broadcast just won’t be the same as ‘The 1812 Overture.’ ”