Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Music problems won’t kill Ketchum

It's time to give up the ghost. The time for live entertainment/dance clubs is long past, and has been for the last 20 years.

I am a resort specialist, grew up on Cape Cod and worked as a head chef for more than 30 years in places like Aspen, Killington, Vt., and North Conway, N.H. I retired here, in my element. I have seen firsthand the demise—through fire or bankruptcy—of numerous live music clubs and restaurants.

The business doesn't pay. Disco and DJs was the beginning of the end of this business model. Once these operations were gone, they were gone for good. No one picked up the slack.

Contrary to Pete Prekeges' sentimental assertion that "We will die as a ski town," Ketchum will not die from a lack of stages for rock and pop groups. Each of the above-mentioned resort areas is doing just fine with DJs and apres-ski lounge acts. The truth is that a small slice of the demographic pie cannot sustain a very expensive business model.

Ketchum may or may not be a dying ski town, but its fate certainly won't be decided by the lack of large-act, late-night, live music.

Oh, by the way, the closest airport to North Conway is 100-plus miles away in Manchester, N.H., or Portland, Maine, yet the four-mountain, four-season area manages to do just fine, as does Santa Fe.

Bali Szabo


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