Downtown Provo’s fifth annual Buzzards and Bees concert festival took place this weekend, featuring 80 bands across 12 venues. Although the festival only began five years ago, it has gained exponential influence on the local music scene.
Alex Vaughn, a member of the creative team that brought the festival to life, revealed that it started in 2018 as a substitute for the soon-to-be-ending Rooftop Concert Series, an event on Center Street in Provo that featured free, outdoor concerts each month of the summer from 2009-2019. “It felt like such a big gap would be left, as it filled such a musical need for the city,” Vaughn stated.
She also revealed that the Halloween theme was influenced by another popular holiday for downtown Provo, the Fourth of July weekend. She explained, “There are thousands of people downtown. We feel strongly about recreating that energy during other times of the year because it’s such a magical time for Provo.”
Buzzards and Bees is an exciting, interactive opportunity for audience members. Participants can pick and choose which lineup is perfect for them by bouncing between venues, all within a short walking distance. Audience members are encouraged to dress up in costume, and people of all ages are invited.
Not only is the festival multi-venue, but it is also multi-genre. Vaughn stressed the importance of featuring diverse musical styles to cater to all tastes. To name just a few of the performances spread out across the venues, Local Kin brought an ominous, classical sound to the folk-rock genre with the inclusion of violin and double bass; Indigo Waves introduced a sound that was soothing and synthetic, yet got the audience screaming and dancing; and Liam Lars blew the crowd away with his booming vocals and only an acoustic guitar for support.
Participation in the festival makes a world of difference for local bands and businesses in being discovered. Vaughn stated, “A big goal of ours is to keep perpetuating younger bands. I think it’s important that they get opportunities to play and build their own skills.”
A ticket to the Buzzards and Bees festival also grants access to Goth Prom, a gothic-themed dance held in downtown Provo the night before. In addition to dancing, a variety of other activities are provided for participants to enjoy. For example, pictures with live pythons, tarot readings, portrait drawings, and more were featured at this year’s event.
Vaughn revealed that the inclusion of Goth Prom was her idea. “It’s a big family tradition of mine that has worked its way into the event. As soon as the idea was brought up, it just felt like it belonged,” she stated. She also revealed that this year’s Goth Prom had the biggest turn-out to date. “We hit maximum capacity and had to turn people away.”
Buzzards and Bees is an event unlike any other in the Provo area and its impact on the community grows every year. More information about next year’s event can be found on buzzardsandbees.com.
Braxtyn Birrell is a junior at UVU studying English with an emphasis in Writing Studies, while simultaneously earning the Editing and Document Design certificate. She is currently serving as a volunteer editor for the UVUReview, as well as Managing Editor for Touchstones Literary Journal and the Journal of Student Leadership. She is an avid appreciator of sunshine and daisies.