In what the Salt Lake City Arts Council's Casey Jarman termed "a closely guarded but very poorly kept secret," Pioneer Park was named the new home of the Twilight Concert Series for at least the summer of 2010. Six of the eight shows were announced Thursday morning as well.
The season starts with Modest Mouse and Avi Buffalo on July 8, and ends with She & Him on August 26. In between are shows by Girltalk (July 15), Beirut (July 22), the New Pornographers with openers the Dodos (July 29) and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings with opener Jamie Lidell(August 5). The two shows slated for August 12 and August 19 still need to be confirmed, Jarman said.
Regarding the move to Pioneer Park, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said "We're thrilled for Salt Lake City and this whole part of our downtown."
Jarman said he looked at a couple dozen potential spots for the series once the Gallivan Center 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, noting that he knew the series was outgrowing Gallivan Center about five years ago. The free Thursday concerts average about 15,000 attendees, and have gone as high as 23,000.
There will be beer and wine sales, as there was at Gallivan, but the city and arts council are still working out the logistics. It might be a beer garden situation like the Living Traditions Festival uses at Washington Square.
Becker said he has high hopes for what the concerts can do for Pioneer Park, especially with the successful Downtown Farmers Market and other, smaller events already making positive changes in a place renowned for its drug trade and homeless population.
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."