This weekend marks a milestone for Aspen music producer and local DJ Bridger Haas.
At 24, Haas (stage name “Haasy”) performed several sold-out shows in the state of Colorado. He has shared the stage with world famous artists, opening for Kaskade and Zedd in Belly Up, Two Friends, Chris Lake and Malaa at the Boulder Theater, and he is also headlining at the Fox Theater in Boulder and Belly Up.
On Saturday, Haas will take the stage at Ford Park in Vail for their biggest sold-out show to date, performing for thousands of people at the Powabunga Music Festival.
“This is my first time performing at a music festival and I am thrilled,” Haas said in a recent interview. “When I think about my musical goals, it’s a big step – a step I’ll never, ever forget.”
Powabunga founder and curator Austin Gavlak, also a household name in the Aspen DJ community, kicked off the weekend-long festival in March 2019. Inspired by his time spent in big cities like Berlin and Barcelona and festivals like Burning Man, Gavlak wanted to bring his favorite elements to these major musical stages in the mountains.
“Music has always been an important part of my life, and for a long time I spent half the year in the mountains and the other half in the big cities,” Gavlak said in a telephone interview. . “I was inspired to create Powabunga to offer the inhabitants of mountain towns a high-end production with international DJs in an intimate setting. “
Originally scheduled to celebrate spring ski culture, the inaugural Powabunga Music Festival was held in Vail and featured artists such as Zhu, Bob Moses, BoomBox, and Justin Jay. The experience was praised, making Powabunga one of USA Today’s Top 10 Emerging Festival winners.
Gavlak quickly got to work on plans for Powabunga 2020, hosting a show for Vail’s closing weekend in April and adding another venue for the festival in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Both queues were announced, tickets sold, and then both shows were canceled due to COVID-19.
Eager to return this year, Gavlak has kicked off a winter festival in Vail, and according to posts on Instagram Powabunga, the lineup for a spring 2022 festival in Lake Tahoe is due to be announced in the near future. 2020 ticket holders have the option to use their purchased tickets for this year’s shows or be refunded, according to Instagram posts.
This weekend’s lineup includes headliners Rufus Du Sol and Bob Moses, followed by Vintage Culture, Channel Tres, Elderbrook and many other artists. Legendary local DJs including Haas, Alex Golden (stage name “GOLDEN”) and Gavlak himself will also perform sets, bringing a diverse mix of electronic, dance and house music to the mountains for the first wintery-style Powabunga. .
“We are fortunate to work with some of the greatest artists in the world and it’s exciting to have them in this experience,” said Gavlak. “And to also have DJs from Colorado and Aspen playing – it’s an inclusive community.”
Although Gavlak, Golden, and Haas are at different stages of their music and DJ careers, they all credit Aspen with its elite, supportive, and timely DJ community. The three musicians have performed in many of the same venues across the city with interconnected relationships and experiences, building on each other across different avenues in the industry.
Gavlak, who now lives between Aspen and Los Angeles, came to Aspen for a ski season in the early 2000s and “fell in love”, becoming extremely involved in the local music and party scene. As a DJ he has performed at the Belly Up, in local restaurants and bars, as well as in many private events over the years. The experiences in Aspen, Gavlak explained, opened “crazy doors,” including gaining concerts in Egypt and Baja, exalting its international presence.
Gavlak recently occupied a residence in the pop-up location of The Snow Lodge at the Ajax base, hosting afternoon-style restaurant and club music and working with other local DJs including Haas.
Haas returned from Denver to Aspen about a year ago and quickly connected with Gavlak. He started playing regular weekly concerts at The Snow Lodge – the city’s hotspot last winter when COVID-19 restrictions were still in place. With the support of Gavlak, Haas has extended its network and talent to other local venues and producers. It particularly took off this summer with concerts ranging from the Escobar and night scene at 7908 to full-scale performances at Belly Up.
When he’s not a DJ, Haas spends the days of the week in his home studio making his own music. His songs have reached over 100,000 streams on Spotify – the most recent track titled “Changes” reaching 800,000 streams.
He explained how he makes his music for his brother, who passed away last year, and now dedicates every song to him – his best friend and his biggest fan.
“My brother gives me a purpose, and with most of the songs I write I try to make a story, I never want to create a song that is meaningless,” Haas said. “Even though the lyrics don’t match him or something, he’s my biggest inspiration.”
He mentioned how his return to Aspen was a career milestone because of the iconic places and people he was able to meet, like Gavlak.
“My dream has always been to tour and perform at festivals, and when Austin asked me in May if I would play at Powabunga, I was so excited,” Haas said.
In addition to playing music and starting Powabunga, Gavlak spawned two other Aspen-focused community projects – Buckhorn Social Club and Ski House – which created a platform to not only launch his own career, Gavlak said. , but also provide opportunities. for local DJs to do the same.
As a co-founder of Ski House and one of Buckhorn’s resident DJs, Golden has worked closely with Gavlak to help organize and produce unprecedented party experiences to suit the vibe of Aspen.
“Buckhorn is cool because it’s these really cool community focused nature nights, and then Ski House is these funky vintage ski-themed pop-up music parties we’re having in Aspen and other towns. mountain. ”Golden said. “And it’s so much fun because there’s nothing like it in any of these mountain towns, like no one is doing that.”
For this weekend’s post-party sets at the Dobson Arena, Buckhorn will host the Friday late-night event featuring “GOLDEN” among an international women’s lineup, and Ski House will host the one. of Saturday.
Tickets for the after party sets are separate from the main event and were recently posted on the Powabunga website.
Golden started DJing for fun about five years ago, playing for his friends in the tiny apartments on Waters Avenue. Since then, she’s established her name in Aspen – and now in Miami, New York and other places in the world – as a “lifestyle DJ” with a niche house music style.
She has been seen behind the DJ booth at various venues around town, from the Red Onion and Gray Lady to The W Rooftop, The Snow Lodge and Belly Up. Golden recently released their first original track with Ryan Golbus, another big name in the local DJ scene.
“The support from this community is wild,” Golden said. “I mean, I grew up as a DJ here faster than I could have anywhere – Aspen is an amazing place to start.”
While she and Gavlak performed at the inaugural Powabunga Festival in 2019 and were scheduled to perform at both Spring 2020 shows, this year’s festival brings Haas into a new arena and a new phase of his career.
Whether DJing at frat parties during his college days at the University of Colorado at Boulder or sharing the Belly Up stage with artists like Zedd, “Haasy’s” name now imprinted on the lineup. de Powabunga has already started to open more doors for the young and talented DJ. .
He mentioned that plans to perform at future music festivals across the country are in the works, and he will soon begin filming his first music video at a location in Aspen.
“I’ve already gained a bit of momentum, but I think 2022 will be the most important year for me,” Haas said. “Powabunga is throwing something big.”
With six new unreleased songs he plans to debut during his 45-minute set on Saturday – a set he’s been preparing for three weeks – Haas is set to kick off Day 2 of Powabunga as a first performance from 14. time. Golden plays the “sunset” show at 4:00 pm Friday and Gavlak takes the stage at 5:15 pm Saturday.
“When I do these sets for a show, I try to create a story that will make people dance and have fun,” Haas said. “I’ll say this, being the first person on Saturday, I’m going to set the tempo – I’m up there for 45 minutes and I’m going to give it my all.”