Fest 411: Kygo Brings The Tropics To Aspen

Palm Tree Festival Croatia Photo@johanneslovund 2162
Palmy Weather: Kygo takes the stage at his Palm Tree festival in Croatia, where the more temperate weather fits into the brand. Courtesy Palm Tree Festival

Few people know the Aspen market as well as the Goldberg brothers. The Belly Up Aspen co-founders grew up in the town, considering the community an essential part of their identities. For artists wanting to play in the mountain town, the Goldbergs are the ones running the show. And when Kygo’s Palm Tree Festival decided to bring their brand there the weekend of Feb. 24, they knew who to turn to.

“If anyone in Aspen knows, it’s Goldbergs or the highway,” Myles Shear, Kygo’s manager and co-founder of Palm Tree Crew, tells Pollstar. “It was a no-brainer to do it with them. And they’ve become some of my and Kygo’s closest friends, so it was really special that we were able to do this together.” 

Kygo has been a frequent performer at Belly Up Aspen, a venue that has hosted many of electronic dance music’s best. Shear and the Palm Tree Crew fell in love with the mountain town, becoming not only friends but family to the Goldbergs. When they thought of where they should expand the brand to next, Aspen seemed the perfect fit.

L R Danny and David Goldberg
L-R Danny and David Goldberg (Courtesy of Belly Up Aspen)

“All [the different events] are completely different with who’s here and what town feels like,” David Goldberg says. “And that’s such a unique and special thing that I don’t think most tourist destinations have to the same degree Aspen does.” 

Music festivals in winter wonderlands are nothing new. But, the cold weather and mountainous terrain are not for the faint of heart. Several factors can make the idea of hosting a music festival in Aspen a difficult task – both for the production team and for the fans in attendance. The town sits 7,908 feet above sea level and February sees an average snowfall of around eight inches.

“The winter is a little more complicated,” Shear says. “I think we chose a more complicated route because we knew it’d be more special. We know that people want to travel in Aspen so they can experience that season. It’s so special and really there’s nothing like it. We took the time to curate it, and when you think about the Palm Tree brand, you obviously think of the summer and palm trees. But the Palm Tree brand can exist anywhere.”

The roads leading up to the town are also not incredibly wide, so the trucks have to carefully wind around while they make the steep climb. Aspen itself is also a small town, providing limited space for an event of this size.

“There’s intricacies and hurdles there that a lot of places don’t have,” Danny Goldberg tells Pollstar. “It’s not very big. There are only so many places to do something like this, and the city, rightfully so, is very protective of their public spaces. Having business here for as long as we have, that’s a great thing because it protects the specialness of Aspen. But it also creates complications and hurdles to get through. It’s certainly nothing insurmountable.” 

Sitting so high on the mountains, Aspen also holds its own unique culture. However, Shear says this is what appealed to them when they sought out an event in the town.

Myles Shear
Myles Shear (Courtesy of Palm Tree Festival)

“On the Palm Tree side, we’re very protective of being respectful wherever we go,” Shear says. “We make sure we’re partnering with the right people. I think it’s really important we’re working with the culture and we’re protective of the brand.”

Much like Palm Tree’s festival at St. Barts, there’s no built-in infrastructure for such an event in Aspen.

For years, Palm Tree Crew and the Goldberg brothers have dreamed about bringing the festival brand to the town. However, it wasn’t until two years ago that they began to sit down and figure out the logistics for it all. Then, they teamed up with C3 Presents to help make the dream become reality.

Fans attending the festival also need to be aware of the weather. Warm layers are strongly encouraged, and
fans with GA tickets will be allowed re-entry in case they need to spend some time warming up in their cars. Palm Tree Festival will stop in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in mid-March, then head to Bali from March 16-17