There will undoubtedly be some bumpy aspects to the transition from the Gallivan Center, where the free Thursday-night shows have been held for years, to Pioneer Park, a place often associated as much with the drug trade and homeless population as with the successful Downtown Farmers Market. But, everyone from the city’s police department to Pioneer-abutting businesses to city officials are hopeful the shift will not only improve the concert experience for those who thought Gallivan was getting too crowded, but also make the park a more vital part of the city’s day-to-day life.
The Salt Lake City Arts Council’s Casey Jarman, who’s been booking the Twilight lineup for more than two decades, believes people will welcome the change from the Gallivan, which often felt uncomfortably overstuffed in recent years for shows such as The Roots, Bon Iver and The Black Keys. The Gallivan is currently undergoing a facelift that will help it accommodate larger crowds, but it would not have been available this summer.
Jarman looked at a couple of dozen potential spots for the series once the Gallivan renovation project was put into place, eventually landing at Pioneer Park because of its size, location and park atmosphere that was preferable to a cement parking lot or closed-off street.
“It was pretty evident walking through (Pioneer Park), this is the space to be,” Jarman said at the press conference announcing Twilight’s new home, noting that he knew the series was outgrowing Gallivan about five years ago. The free Thursday concerts average about 15,000 attendees, and have gone as high as 23,000. And yes, there will still be beer and wine available at Pioneer, as there was at Gallivan.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said he has high hopes for what the concerts can do for Pioneer Park, in conjunction with the farmers market and other, smaller events already making positive changes in the park. The arrival of the Twilight Concert Series, Becker said, will help “make Pioneer Park what it should be, a jewel in the middle of our city.”
2010 TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES LINEUP
July 8: Modest Mouse, Avi Buffalo
July 15: Girl Talk, Memory Tapes
July 22: Beirut, Twin Sister
July 29: The New Pornographers, The Dodos
Aug. 5: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Jamie Lidell
Aug. 12: Matisyahu, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Aug. 19: Big Boi, Chromeo
Aug. 26: She & Him, Dum Dum Girls
Gates and the Twilight Market open at 5 p.m. on show days. Concerts begin at 7 p.m.