CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (CBS4)– Whatever– Bud Light has taken over Crested Butte but the festival has failed to capture the approval of locals.
The Bud Light festival is taking over the entire downtown area of Crested Butte this weekend as a backdrop for their “Whatever” campaign. It’s divided the town.
Crested Butte is a small mountain town located about 200 miles southwest of Denver.
Even though the event is underway, many locals are upset about the festival taking over their town. The main drag through town, Elk Avenue, is painted blue from curb to curb.
“No one here has pulled off an event like this including the organizers themselves, and the town obviously, so we’re doing the best we can,” said Crested Butte Mayor Aaron Huckstep.
Huckstep said much of the project was supposed to be a secret.
“There are certainly a lot more details that I didn’t know about that are great, it’s good to see,” said Huckstep.
The town council approved Bud Light’s permit to take over the town last week. Bud Light also doubled their offer to $500,000 for the permit to be there during the ad campaign, including set up and tear down.
Those who never wanted the takeover are still very vocal with their opposition.
“It seems like a Denver-esque event for the mountains,” said Crested Butte resident Daniel Goldstein. “True, longtime, hard working locals who have fought for things like Red Lady water rights… no, we’re not for it.”
Goldstein said although he is against Whatever coming to Crested Butte he still plans on attending, “Gotta see exactly what happens to see if our town gets taken under.”
The latest topic for debate surfaced on Thursday when only 4,000 wristbands were handed out to locals.
“I waited in line for about 15 minutes, I did get a little manhandled at the door,” said Crested Butte resident Paul Elkins.
Last week during the permit approval process representatives from the Whatever campaign said all Gunnison County residents could attend the festival.
“Sounded like a good time, I mean, we like to party here in Crested Butte,” said Elkins. “But I’m going to do as much as they let me get away with.”
This has been a contentious event for locals as the festival moves in.
Huckstep said the town has no regrets, “We’re getting a lot of exposure and a lot of mentions.”
Adding that there is a reasonable expectation for a positive impact on tourism.
There are some concerns about the party and security as the festivities continue throughout the weekend.