Colorado Music Alliance promotes festivals

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— Colorado has more summer music festivals than almost any other state, so why not promote that fact.

Those were the thoughts of Strings in the Mountains' head of marketing Sheri Steiner.

With that in mind, Steiner began working with festival organizations across Colorado last year to form the Colorado Music Alliance.

As summer festivals push toward their opening dates, the Colorado Music Alliance encompasses sixteen festival organizations in Aspen, Boulder, Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, Dillon, Durango, Estes Park, Nederland, Silverthorne, Steamboat Springs, Telluride and Vail.

Each festival's focus is on classical music.

"Steiner was one of the major players in pulling this together," Strings Executive Director Betse Grassby said.

The groups have been meeting every six months with several ideas in mind -- to link the festivals on the Internet, to provide a cultural map of Colorado and to develop a "Festival Arts Pass" discount voucher -- with an eye toward encouraging travel to multiple festivals.

Most of the festivals run from June through August, and feature jazz, world, pop and bluegrass artists.

According to a Colorado Music Alliance press release, Alliance members contributed more than $80 million last year to the state's economy.

The festivals are now linked, as of January, through the Web site www.coloradomusicalliance.com and through links from the Colorado Tourism Organization.

"This is the first season," Grassby said. "And the Alliance is still forming. It takes a lot of time to get something like this together."

This year, the Alliance is producing a "Cultural Tour" map brochure, which will explain each organization's location while also providing discounts to member festivals.

Each festival also plans to develop lodging packages to accommodate travelers.

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