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Home / Articles / News / Letters /  Has the Music Died?
Letters

Has the Music Died?

By City Weekly Readers
Posted // April 8,2009 -

I, like so many others in this city, love attending concerts, shows, venues, etc. I have noticed a severe drop in the number of bands coming to Salt Lake City that used to come in the past. I thank God for the Urban Lounge and Bar Deluxe and (sometimes) In the Venue for bringing shows here, but those venues are oftentimes too small. We lose out on acts stopping here. This is inexcusable, considering we are situated at the intersection of interstates 80 and 15, making it nearly impossible for traveling talent to miss this little city.

Our city has such a strong music scene— whether it be blues, jazz, rockabilly, punk, indie or hip-hop. If we have more options of venues, it will inspire more local talent thereby putting us on the music map. I am writing as a concerned Salt Lake City citizen. City Weekly has taken part in so many changes in the Valley. I hope it will help bring awareness to this issue.

Annika Nelson DiMeo
Salt Lake City

 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 23,2011 at 12:39

Venues don't "inspire" musicians, they support them. And you're right, Urban and Kilby do a great job of that.

What we need is a legislature that treats bar patrons like adults. Byzantine liquor laws really do put a damper on things, and the dearth of safe ways to get home doesn't help.

Bands that do come here find themselves blown away by how happy people are to see them.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // April 17,2009 at 10:05

Back in the early 80's, I was one of three partners in a live-music venue in downtown SLC.

We did a couple of things, that at the time, were just common sense when it came to booking bands. We had a budget for putting on a concert based on capacity. ticket price, radio advertising costs, etc.

We worked with the William Morris agency in LA to have bands stop over at our place on the way from Denver heading to LA. This only really worked with bands on buses, not flying in and out. They could pick up cash they wouldn't have normally had on the long drive and we could pick up a fairly well-known name for not a lot of dough.

Also, we connected with United Concerts to take lesser known bands that they had to do somethng with because they were too small for a Delta Center-type venue. United had to do something with them because they would often come packaged with big names that went to the big venues.

As a result, we got bands like The Police opening for The Specials and many, many more over a period of a year.

Now, we realized that rock n rollers didn't have money and they didn't buy booze. They could barley buy tickets. So, after a good relationship bringing in rock bands on their way from Denver to LA, we looked around and saw that country rock was gaining popularity and we actually switched music genre to country and country rock.

It kinda sucked to switch, but as an economic necessity, it worked. People packed the place, they had jobs so they had money, they drank, they danced, they had a ball and then they went home.

I had a beleif at the time that rock and rollers would come in and break the then-glass pitchers because they were high and depressed and angry. Country fans would do the same thing, but do it because they were having a good time and had moeny to spend. Took the sting out of buying more pitchers!

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // April 15,2009 at 13:47

I'm probably going to get more grief than praise for this one, but bare with me.

Venues are not the issue. We have all-age venues that do exceptionally well, and no matter where you go in the U.S. beer is overpriced at bars and clubs. We have a fine cornucopia of venues that allow most (if not all) genres of music through their doors. We even have large venues (The Depot) who if they had a decent booker working for them AND their act in gear, could stack four band shows every weekend and put the place damn near capacity. The recently opened State Room also will be accomidating more to nation-wide talent, and you should check out their room.

I believe one of the bigger issues is the musician's mentality toward Utah. The outside view is that we're a bunch of crazy bible-loving folk with bad taste in beer and worse taste in music. Remember, Utah is still recognized as the home of the Osmonds first. And more often then not you'll look at a tour schedule and find that SLC is usually either a day off or a truck stop between Denver and Vegas. It sucks, but we're just not considered a major spot. And its not like Utah has a committee that works on our public image in the eyes of music (and if there is they're not doing that great of a job).

Unless you go out of your way to make sure that band knows there's an audience here and a venue that will take them, you leave it up to them to pick us as a tourdate. Most any act in the world can find a venue here, its up to them to actually look for one.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // April 10,2009 at 13:44

Annika-

There's so much more to the story than just adding more venues. There have been plenty of good venues that have gone down in flames because people here don't have the disposable income to buy expensive tickets for the venue and then pay $5 a beer at the venue. One private club owner I know says that his parking lot is full of booze bottles and no one is buying drinks at his bars. They are BYOB and doing it in the parking lot.

That's not supporting a venue.

Check out the Murray Theater. I'm fascinated by the business model and relatively quick measure of success the owners have had. You wont find Brittany Spears there,and that's a good thing, but the acts are international, not just another heaping helping of "We-like-to-get shit-faced-drunk-and-wipe-boogers-on-each-other local bands.

 

 
 
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