The 24th annual Salt Lake City Living Traditions Festival is a celebration of all the folk and ethnic arts that make Utah such a diverse place to live. If you think such a thing might be a bit of a stretch here in a state commonly viewed as extremely homogenous, you have obviously never been to the festival.
This weekend-long celebration brings together disparate groups of people—immigrant and native—living in the greater Salt Lake Valley, with a select few headlining acts like Rebirth Brass Band (pictured) and Mike Seeger to spice up the event. One of the best things about the festival is that it changes from year to year as our growing community does. Among other arts, crafts and performance groups, this year, the festival will include African cartoon and painting traditions, Sudanese beadwork, Scandinavian weaving and the Wat Dhammagunaran Dancers, all for the very first time. The whole point is not only to show off the diversity here in Utah, but to provide a space for learning about and experiencing the different sights, sounds, and flavors within our community. Festival organizers, according to press materials, “invite you to join with the many Living Traditions participants—in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding—to celebrate Salt Lake’s rich and diverse cultures.”
So next time you get to thinking that Utah is all stale sameness, remember the sheer diversity onstage at to the Living Traditions Festival. And, mind you, there are equally diverse food offerings—and free Bocce courts.
Living Traditions Festival @ Washington Square, Salt Lake City & County Building, 450 S. 200 East, 801-596-5000, May 15-17, SLCGov.com/Arts