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Aspen Music Festival Overwhelmed With Applications After Colorado Legalizes Pot

Submitted by on November 7, 2012 – 7:38 pm15 Comments

ASPEN, CO—The Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) was thrown for a loop this morning when it began to receive a series of deliveries of a record number of prospective student applications. The sudden surge of interest in the renowned music festival is most likely a direct consequence of yesterday’s election in which Colorado voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The passage of Amendment 64 makes Colorado the first state in American history to end the prohibition on pot, a landmark reform that many predict will fundamentally alter the economic and social life of the western mountain state.

Residents of the quiet, affluent resort town woke up to the sound of a fleet of delivery trucks headed towards the AMFS campus, hauling an upwards of 100,000 individual applications shipped from around the globe, including all 50 states and over 120 countries, representing every major conservatory and music school in the world. “It sounded like an army headed to war. Then I realized it was just UPS,” said one local resident and AMFS donor. “Next summer is going to be an interesting one here in Aspen.”

In response to these developments, AMFS leadership called an emergency press conference this afternoon. “When I heard of the Amendment’s passage, I thought it might cause a slight increase in application submissions,” said AMFS Director of Admissions, “but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine anything like this. I didn’t even realize there were this many young classical musicians in the world today.” He went on to say that, though the AMFS campus typically accommodates 600 students, that number will almost certainly rise above 1,000. Nevertheless, the acceptance rate will plummet to well below 1% as another quarter-million applications are expected to arrive at AMFS over the coming months, making it by far the most exclusive music festival in the world.

“While we are all thrilled and flattered at this absolutely unprecedented display of interest in our festival, we also recognize the level of preparation and precaution necessary to ensure a safe and productive summer,” said AMFS Music Director, Robert Spano, just before blazing a fat spliff. “But seriously, y’all don’t wanna miss this shit next summer. It’s gonna be freakin’ incredible,” he said, coughing.

A still shot from “Koyaanisqatsi,” a 1982 cult film with soundtrack by Philip Glass.

Spano went on to announce a series of changes planned for AMFS Summer 2013 to address the new law and its implications for the musical and social atmosphere of the Festival. First, the standard orchestral repertoire planned for the opening concert will be replaced with a longer program of exclusively minimalist compositions, including Philip Glass’s Music in Twelve Parts, Steve Reich’s Drumming, and an interactive performance of Terry Riley’s In C that will invite audience participation and is planned to last throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Additionally, the experimental 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi featuring a soundtrack by Glass will be played on constant loop in Harris Concert Hall for the entire duration of the eight-week festival. During the last week of the Festival, AMFS plans to bus every student up to Maroon Bells for a massive performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets during the annual meteor shower.

And in what will be a belated nod to John Cage’s Centennial, AMFS will open every orchestra concert with a performance of the iconoclast composer’s most famous work, 4’33’’, “but thirteen seconds shorter,” Spano said through a grin.

Next to speak was Alan Fletcher, President of AMFS. “It’s a well-established fact that marijuana and music go extremely well together,” he said. “And it is important to us as artists and educators to create the most stimulating possible environment for the many young people who attend this great festival.”

With the surplus revenue from the tens of thousands of unexpected application fees, every student will be guaranteed a full scholarship covering tuition, room, and—most importantly—board. In addition, Fletcher said the Festival plans to build a 24-hour food court attached to Marolt dormitory in anticipation of a general increase in appetite among the student body.

Despite the slim chances of being accepted to what is now being dubbed “Two-Mile­-High Music Festival,” students at conservatories and music schools around the country are abuzz with anticipation, many already making plans in case they are lucky enough to get in.

“I already know I want to do Beethoven Op. 130 for my final chamber music performance,” said a cellist from the Cleveland Institute of Music. “My group’s gonna bring a vaporizer on stage and pass it around to hit between movements. Oh my god imagine how gone we will be by the time we get to the Cavatina . . . it’s gonna feel sooo sloooow.”

A group of violinists from the Eastman School of Music were looking forward to lighting up their first joint. “We’ve always wanted to try it but were scared because it’s illegal,” said one, giggling. “But now that it’s okay to smoke it in Colorado, I feel like we will be high for like the whole summer camp.”

Students from conservatories on the west coast felt similarly. One bassoonist and veteran pot-smoker from the Colburn School was glad he would no longer have to hide his stash in his reed case. “It was always a secret thing, you know. Kids would have to break curfew and wander off into the woods at night to get high,” he said. “But now that it’s legal, and encouraged, we can just do it right out in the open as a community, like one big family.”

Not everyone was equally excited about AMFS Summer 2013, however. One soprano from the Juilliard School who will be entering her final year of a three-year fellowship at AMFS, was disappointed to hear of the changes to the Festival. “I was supposed to be Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi next summer, and now I find out that I’m in the chorus for sixteen performances of Einstein on the Beach?” she said. “Seriously, what the eff is that?”

Others were more indifferent about the news. Upon hearing that Colorado had just legalized marijuana, one bass player and Aspen-regular from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music said, “Yeah, I don’t really see how it’ll be any different than all the other summers I’ve been there.”

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Note: Submediant is a satirical segment within The Backyard (see: the logo), and its contents should not be mistaken for real events—however believable.


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