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Ben Harper To Headline Return of Jackson Hole Rendezvous Festival

In preparation for the legendary Jackson Hole Rendezvous Festival back now for the first time since 2019 — and headlined by Grammy-winning blues/rock heroes Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals — the resort is saying its reservation system is creating the best experience possible for all involved. TGR’s Todd Jones says it hasn’t been this good since the 90s.

The resort says this year has been a great experience for guests with much smaller lift lines, due to the capacity restrictions at JHMR. But unfortunately they still have guests, both day ticket purchasers, Mtn Collective, and IKON passholders, showing up without reservations when they are sold out, creating some uncomfortable conversation for all involved. With COVID and social distancing protocols fluctuating during the winter season, JHMR opted to take a more conservative approach and limit capacity in 2021-22 as it did the year before. And they will do this for 22/23 as well. They say snow is better preserved and staff can give more personalized attention to guests in retail and rental stores, dining outlets, lodging and mountain sports schools. Key base area lifts open at 8:30 AM, 30 minutes earlier than pre-COVID years, and they raised minimum wage to $18/hour.

“All of these steps were taken so we could offer our guests a great experience in line with their expectations of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our guests and we plan to continue to manage capacity not only through the end of this season, but through next year as well. The strategy hasn’t affected demand at the resort at all,” said Mary Kate, the JHMR President. JHMR passholders will NOT be required to make a reservation and can ski or ride on the days as indicated on the pass type purchased. 

The Rendezvous Festival is supported by the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board and will take place April 1-2 after the event was canceled each of the previous two years due to health and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitz and The Tantrums will headline the event’s first night of performances on Friday, April 1, while the final night on Saturday, April 2, will include The Wailers and Cold War Kids performing before Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (right) close. Brett Dennen will kick off the two-day festival on April 1. The event is free for general admission guests across both venues and VIP tickets are available for a premium experience.

“The Rendezvous Festival has always been a wonderful way to say goodbye to the winter season for both visitors to Jackson Hole and the people in our community, and we’re overjoyed to welcome the festival back this year,” said Jess McMillan, senior events and partnership manager at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. “And in addition to simply welcoming people back together again in this beautiful setting, a tremendous concert lineup like this one makes Rendezvous our premier event of the spring.”

Harper’s career spans three decades and 12 studio albums, and he’s celebrated as an iconic guitarist and diverse multi-instrumentalist who spans rock, blues, folk, reggae and soul genres — I’ve never seen him put on a show that was anything less than amazing. Harper is a three-time Grammy winner, including awards for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album in 2004 and Best Blues Album in 2013. His two best selling albums, “Burn to Shine” and “Diamonds on the Inside,” made him a mainstay on rock charts. As you may know, the Wailers are led by bassist Aston Barrett and were formed in 1989 as a continuation of Bob Marley’s seminal reggae group and have been performing in mountain towns for at least three decades since I’ve been around.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort also told me that it runs its operations on “Green Power” across 4,139 acres of vertical feet and 2,500 acres of terrain.

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