Tahoe music festival at home in Homewood
A proposed amphitheater at Homewood Mountain Resort will soon give the Lake Tahoe Music Festival the lasting location the wandering gala needs to define West Shore entertainment.Itll be our new home base, Music Festival Executive Director Lisa Krueger said. It helps us be a more permanent fixture.Founded in 1982 by Edgar Braun, conductor of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the festival is a nonprofit organization that presents quality, diverse music and creates educational and performance opportunities for aspiring musicians.During the festivals 26th season, which kicks off next Thursday, musicians will perform at four venues throughout the North Lake Tahoe area: Donner Lake, Tahoe Donner in Truckee, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort and its home venue in Homewood. For years, concert-goers have brought chairs, food and sweaters and claimed their spots on a flat and sloped grass seating area in front of a temporary stage at Homewood. I think Tahoe is all about bringing your picnic and sitting on the grass and listening to some music, and Homewood is a great venue for that, said Amber Kijanka, special events manager for Homewood and Alpine mountain resorts.Homewood staff have laid sod and planted flowers to beautify the current location until the new amphitheater is completed, which is scheduled for the festivals 2010 or 2011 season, depending on the proposed resorts final approvals. The amphitheater, which is part of a greater project to revamp the resort, will be built in the side of the mountain.The slope itself offers such a natural amphitheater, Kijanka said. (The project) is real neat. We dont have anything like it in the Basin.The portable stage will sit next to the future hotel between an outdoor dining area and a new gondola, creating a beautiful bowl effect at the bottom of the ski run, said Art Chapman, president of JMA Ventures, which owns the property.Chapman has owned property in Tahoe for almost 30 years and said he has always enjoyed the festival. He said the event became somewhat nomadic when it lost its former home, the old Topol Pavilion across the street from the resort.It needed a home, he said. Bringing music back to the lake was something we believed very, very strong in.The resort will also host concerts and theatrical events not tied to the Lake Tahoe Musical Festival. The space will likely hold the same amount of people that currently attend concerts between 700 and 1,500 Chapman said. Larger concerts will continue to be held in Alpine Meadows.The amphitheaters portable stage will be stored during winters, when the area will become a childrens ski place.Kijanka said she thinks the new amphitheater will help make Homewood the prime meeting spot on the West Shore.The new venue will help keep the West Shore on the map, and will give a summer season to a winter resort, said Deanna Gescheader, marketing sales director for Homewood and Alpine mountain resorts.Nobody could say anything bad about housing the festival in Homewood, West Shore resident and West Shore Association member John Walker said.I am all in favor of fine arts being on the West Shore of Tahoe, he said. I just think its marvelous.The new venue will draw visitors who will boost the economy, Walker said. Walker attends the concerts when he can, he said, and he remembers coming face to face with a bear while leaving a previous Sha Na Na concert in Squaw with a picnic basket in hand.People make a tradition of attending the three-week set of concerts, Krueger said.It really has become a staple for the summer, she said. I think the new venue is going to continue to elevate the experience that Lake Tahoe Musical Festival brings to its customers.