Old Man Winter was a particularly intrusive bastard this year. He lingered well into the months we normally call “spring” and generated a very realistic fear that sometime in mid-May we could still be trapped in our homes by gargantuan piles of snow and forced to consume our loved ones, Donner Party style.
Yet for however prolonged the cold season may have been in 2010, we managed to escape uneaten and once again get to enjoy all things summertime in Utah – the camping, the hiking, the tubing, the pool-crashing, the Wyoming smuggling trips, the overnight rash of snow cone stands, the farmers markets and, most of all, the free outdoor concerts. We mean the good ones, of course. While it might be a treat to see your roommate’s promising local band play all the same songs they played last summer for free in someone’s backyard, the real outdoor concerts to catch would, of course, be those put on by Salt Lake City’s fantastic sunny season institution: The Twilight Concert Series.
Kicking off on July 8 this year, the Twilight Concert Series will begin with a performance by Avi Buffalo and Modest Mouse. Other musicians scheduled to grace Salt Lake with their presence include Beirut, Girl Talk and Matisyahu.
Starting in 2006, the Twilight Concert Series has brought some of popular music’s best and brightest to the city’s Gallivan Center, all for the gratis enjoyment of the public and to great positive response. Past performers include country poet Robert Earl Keen, hip-hop veterans De La Soul and mellifluous folk patron saint Iron and Wine – and the line-ups seem to only get better with every year.
In comparison to past years, 2010’s concert series definitely has more “big” and “hip” names participating in the event, than in, say, 2006, which mainly featured lesser known country, bluegrass and jazz groups. Staring in 2007, the series seemed to embrace more “indie” acts and as the years have gone by, the same groups which have dominated headlines and “best of” lists all through the Aughts have quickly come to dominate Twilight’s rosters.
In fact, the only problem that the Twilight Concert seems bogged down by is the kind you want to have – too much popularity. With attendance numbers estimated to reach 20,000, Salt Lake City’s fire marshall has deemed the Gallivan Center an unsafe venue for this year’s performances. Not to be undone by mere fire safety regulations, the Twilight Concert Series will take place this year at the city’s Pioneer Park.
While Pioneer Park does afford more space for this year’s concert-goers, some have expressed concern, due to the new locale’s notorious association with the city’s vagrant constituency and the local drug trade. Police officials and businesses in the park’s vicinity are hoping that the concert series’ new venue will improve conditions in the park by making it a place where normal law-abiding citizens hang out, as opposed to the normal milieu of hobos and crack-smokers.
Of course, some might see that particular demographic as an improvement to the event. With security guards at every entrance, patting down each attendee in search of contraband party supplies, having a bunch of tweekers already in the park will give the opportunity for concert-goers to get more bang for their buck than they would out of six dollar plastic cups of beer. Crystal might not be your drug of choice, but who wants to watch Zooey Deschanel sing while in the vice-like grip of relative sobriety?
All joking aside (no one at UVU Review is advocating the purchase of dangerous street drugs from hobos in the park), there are some things that first-time attendees are going to want to know before just heading over to Pioneer Park all willy-nilly. Firstly, the concerts are every Thursday and Pioneer Park is located at 350 West and 300 South. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the music will formally begin around 7 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, so if you want to get a glimpse up Sharon Jones’ dress, be sure to get there early. Also, remember that everyone is going to try and find parking spots as close as possible to the event, so why don’t you just cut out all the aggravation and take the TRAX? The closest station to Pioneer Park is right by Clark Planetarium at 150 South and 400 West.
Bring towels, low-backed lawn chairs, blankets or resign yourself to grass stains on your pants. Coolers are allowed, but don’t think that security won’t check yours for hooch. Beer and wine are available inside if you start getting the delirium tremors. There is also no smoking and no pets allowed, which the good people at Salt Lake City Arts Council decided to lump together as rules on their website – perhaps cat ladies and chain smokers both do the same sort of second-hand damage and we just haven’t read the medical reports yet.
Other than that, be sure to bring sunscreen, prepare to have a lot of fun watching free concerts, and watch out for guys with big beards and tinfoil hats. They might be ironically fashioned hipsters or they might be Iraq War vets down on their luck. Either way, they can be volatile and unpleasant to speak with.
July 8 – Modest Mouse (w/ Avi Buffalo)
July 15 – GirlTalk (w/ Memory Tapes)
July 22 – Beirut (w/ Twin Sister)
July 29 – The New Pornographers (w/ The Dodos)
August 5 – Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
(w/ Jamie Lidell)
August 12 – Matisyahu
(w/ Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe)
August 19 – Big Boi (w/ Chromeo)
August 26 – She & Him (w/ Dum Dum Girls)