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City Guide 2024 

City Weekly's 19th annual celebration of all things SLC

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Christine Baird - COURTESY PHOTO
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  • Christine Baird

Musical Notes
Here's why so many awesome bands put down roots in Utah.
By Emilee Atkinson

As City Weekly's music editor, I'm always surprised by the local music scene—surprised in a good way, of course. For starters, it's filled with some of the nicest, coolest and most creative people I've ever met. Their passion and drive are unmatched, and we listeners constantly get to reap the rewards of their hard work.

Seriously, what did we do to deserve all of you?

From Ogden to Provo and everywhere in between, amazing groups of every genre and background can be heard. Just about any type of music that suits your tastes and moods can be found here.

We asked a few local musicians why they continue to grace us with their presence (as opposed to moving to larger music markets). Here's what we learned, and when you're finished reading this, I hope you'll give their music a listen!

Christine Baird: "Leaving my gigs feeling fulfilled"
I play both solo and with my band in northern Utah, everywhere from Edison House to The Spur. Stylistically, I describe myself as "Rocky Mountain Soul"— gritty elevated rock with a whole lot of soulful vibes. I have been gigging in the SLC area since the start of 2022. Although I grew up in the area, I had spent the previous decade living and working as a musician and performer in New York City. When I relocated back out West at the end of 2021, I was genuinely surprised to discover such a flourishing music scene. Over the past two years, I have watched it grow exponentially and have been so pleased with the following I've started to develop from my gigs around town. Gigging in Utah has gifted me the opportunity to not only make good money but also explore my artistry in a way I never felt like I could in NYC for various reasons. Sure, there have been occasional nights where barely anyone pays attention, but I usually leave my gigs feeling fulfilled, heard and truly supported by the staff and patrons alike. Overall, the experience has been very positive!

Zyglrox: "More fans coming to local shows and supporting the artists"
I find that the music scene in the Salt Lake area is very welcoming to newer musical acts. I've heard acts in other cities have a difficult time finding gigs, but that isn't the case here. It's pretty easy finding other artists willing to join a bill. I am also constantly inspired by the support that musicians in the Salt Lake area offer each other. Everything feels more in the spirit of collaboration than one of competition. Everybody seems pretty tightly knit through social media. The fans are also pretty crazy in the area. Over the past few years, I've noticed a lot more fans coming to local shows and supporting the artists. They know the music and are passionate about supporting their favorite local artists!"

Swerved - by Blondes - SYDNEY SIGURD
  • Sydney Sigurd
  • Swerved by Blondes

Swerved by Blondes: "There really isn't anywhere else with this kind of music scene."
Swerved by Blondes is a five-piece punk rock band that was formed in 2022. After unsuccessfully trying to kick-start their love lives, the members of Swerved—Sam Parkinson, Cameron Goff, Conner Goff, Christian Martinez and Jack Carnivale —decided after high school to pursue music and to start a band. They'd all played in short-lived bands with each other in high school but, after graduation, the final lineup came together.

The band decided to make high-energy music with relatable lyrics that everyone could sing along to. With love ballads like "Broken" and "U&Me" and punk anthems such as "Lollygagging" and "Dead Inside With a Side of Fries," Swerved created a sound that everyone can jam out to.

Soon after forming, the band realized how truly lucky they are to be able to play the Salt Lake music scene. With so many amazing venues and audiences that are ready to party, every show was incredibly fun. The band feels there is no better music spot on earth than Salt Lake City and Provo.

If you've ever been to a Swerved show, you know how crazy the band can be onstage, and to this day, they've never had an audience in Salt Lake that didn't match their energy. There really isn't anywhere else with this kind of music scene, and that's why the band loves the Salt Lake City. IG @swervedbyblondes

New Distraction: "There's always a quick mountain escape from the daily bustle."
New Distraction is a home-grown, three-piece band—all Utah natives and students of music. We're comprised of drummer Chris Petty, a graduate of the U of U with a master's of music in jazz studies; singer/guitarist Jake Martin, a Berklee College of Music alumnus with a BA in songwriting; and bass player Nate Meredith, a five-year principal bassist of the WSU Symphony Orchestra.

If you're into '80s pop, funk, '90s-'00s alternative, reggae, contemporary, whatever ... we are, too! We integrate whatever our new distraction is and build it into our original music. And we have new music releasing soon! (Follow us on social media to hear it.)

Living in northern Utah, it's impossible to overlook the beauty of nature as a cultural influence here. It's like having a natural playground, and one that we as a band like to use to spark creativity. There's always a quick mountain escape from the daily bustle that's just a stone's throw away, yet just a short ride downtown is a city center with plenty of music venues to choose from.

It's also well-known that Utah is a traditionalist state, but that has spurred a thriving counterculture to bloom here. We're showing the world that Utah's putting out more than hymns now. IG @new.distraction

Scott Lippitt: "A fantastic network of unique small to medium-sized music venues"
I've been asked by my friend and City Weekly music editor, Emilee Atkinson, to share my thoughts on why local musicians love the local scene and how newcomers can best experience it. So, I went to my local music cassette tape collection, grabbed Dad Bod's Pastels, threw it in my tape player and began typing out a response. Between the beautiful mountains, hiking trails, approachable city-life and an average of 222 sunny days a year, there's a lot keeping me in Salt Lake City. The strongest glue, however, is the supportive, highly talented, historic and growing music scene. As an independent musician, I couldn't imagine a better U.S. city to establish and grow a music career.

I'm not alone, either. My music friends and various music-makers I've talked to here have the same to say: Salt Lake City has a unique blend of traits that make it perfect to pursue music. The city-size is approachable yet large enough for a musician to grow an engaged fan base.

There is a "team" sentiment in which we all encourage and push each other to grow, as opposed to the "competitive" sentiment that can be found in cities like LA and Nashville. We are all working to highlight the immense talent and dedication to music found in SLC.

The momentum is building as well. One example is Little Moon, a Provo-NPR Tiny Desk contest winner in 2023. SLC also has a fantastic network of unique small to medium-sized music venues such as Urban Lounge, Kilby Court, The Beehive, The DLC, The International, Metro Music Hall and more. These venues have immense character. These venues host everything from local musicians who may be having their first concert to national acts such as Big Thief, Porches and Reel Estate.

As a musician, it's inspiring to play the same stages as my idols. If you're looking to get into the music scene, look for an interesting show at Kilby Court, the DLC or The International, and you have a decent chance of meeting a large chunk of the music scene in one night. IG: @scott_lippitt_music

Ideal Horizon - JACOB MONIZ
  • Jacob Moniz
  • Ideal Horizon

Ideal Horizon: "Utah is part of our story as a band"
We come from all over the U.S. We have one Utah local, Bryson, who plays bass for the band. Renee, our vocalist, is from Georgia. Keith, our drummer, is from Virginia. And Dominique, our guitarist, is from Texas. We all love being musicians for the same reason so many love listening to music. We love being a part of a community where we can all have one common connection. Being the ones making the music is a whole new level of satisfaction because we get to see how the things we create can speak to others as well. Coming together in Utah is part of our story as a band; we are proud to say this is where we started. There is a tight knit music/creative community here that we have only had a taste of being a part of. From the venues to the photographers to the sound techs and producers, we love that we have the chance to represent this area.

Datsik at - LNE Presents - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Datsik at LNE Presents

Techno Cats
Dial in Salt Lake's electronic dance raves and parties.
By Arica Roberts

Seemingly little attention has been paid to the electronic dance music (EDM) scene within Salt Lake City, but if you've ever been to a local rave or underground show and danced well into the morning hours, then you know it's the real deal. The three major production companies—V2 Presents, LNE Presents, and Mutiny Music Collective—boast several successful raves and shows on a regular basis. The difference between a rave and show lies within the size of the crowd and level of production put into the events.

For example, V2 Presents throws both large-scale raves like Get Lucky in March, Get Funky in May, Das Energi in August and Get Freaky in October. Many of these raves have taken place for over a decade, and their popularity is growing. Utah's population has also grown, bringing new faces to the events, plus more attendees are coming from out of state.

Typically, these raves begin in the early afternoon or evening and end at 2 a.m. with official afterparties downtown. The lineups include both local DJs for earlier slots and major headlining DJs like Diplo, Excision, DJ Snake, Kascade, Timmy Trumpet and Above & Beyond. During these raves, there are three different stages (one inside, one outside and one on the beach) with high-quality visuals, lasers, fire and spectacular fireworks at the end of the night.

Mutiny Music Collective is the youngest production group, popping up in SLC during the pandemic. While their first rave was a socially distanced drive-in festival in Grantsville featuring artists like Riot Ten, Subtronics and Sullivan King, they've grown substantially in the time since. They've also thrown successful two-day shows at Fear Factory with headliners Svdden Death and Deathpact last summer.

LNE Presents, founded in 2012, is not exclusively an EDM entertainment company; however, they regularly book EDM talent like Steve Aoki at The Marquis in Park City and Syndicate shows at Soundwell SLC.

Outside of these larger events, both V2 and Mutiny throw smaller-scale night events. V2 has been known for hosting their weekly Therapy Thursdays for nearly a decade at downtown Sky SLC, as well as regular shows at Soundwell SLC. More recently they've featured events at the Masonic Temple on South Temple, while the latter recently started throwing almost weekly sold-out shows at Boxpac Project warehouse on the westside of SLC as of January this year.

These companies also make use of the downtown venue The Complex, for events like the NYE Saturnalia party by Mutiny (with headliner Marauda) and Basscase (with major dubstep and drum n bass artists like Justin Hawkes and Midnight Tyrannosaurus) thrown by V2 and SLC Live at the end of January. These production companies have a strong social media presence and announce scheduled events weeks or months in advance.

During both raves and smaller-scale shows, the crowd is full of mostly young adults in rave attire, trading brightly colored beaded bracelets, necklaces and accessories called "kandi," which is a distinctive and unique part of rave culture and is designed to be given away or traded away as a sign of PLUR culture: peace, love, unity, and respect. Outside of major headliners, the local SLC DJs and producers are also making major waves in the scene. These include, but are not limited to: Fransis Derelle, OBAYASHI, and Z & Z.

For the more exclusive underground parties, the locations are generally sent to ticket holders the day prior or day-of a show. These are held in places ranging from warehouse shows to parties out in the desert. Years later, these parties are still talked about and have established a legacy that has impacted the spirit of underground EDM shows in SLC.

In earlier years, an underground EDM show would take place in a secret location. If the show was super underground, wherever they would send you would send you to another location, and that's where the show was. Seeking out the location was part of the allure. Walking into an underground EDM show is like walking through a magical portal. There is the immediate contrast between the dark atmosphere and laser beams, crowds of people often dressed in costumes and LED dancers with hoops, poi and fans. One's inner child can come out to play and be filled with awe.

The growth of the underground EDM scene can be best described as an ebb and flow. Over the past decade, many production companies have come and gone; tending to grow and fizzle out every three or four years.

Some production companies such as BLAQ VOID, Jaguar Occult and TEN4 Club have sustained their growth and maintained the scene's core values. Their code of conduct is what makes them stand out the most, as they strive for a safe environment for anybody and everybody. This is the true ethos of underground EDM and what ultimately makes it so special.

Going to underground shows, you always get surprised because there is always new music and talent, friendly faces and good vibes all around. There is a difference in that attendees are not only there to see their favorite DJ, but also to build community and connection through music in Salt Lake City in the underground scene.

Overall, Salt Lake City has it all: if you're looking for heavy dubstep bangers to funky house beats and mid-tempo rhythms, there are many spaces that have something for everyone to dance along.

Alibi Bar & Place: - small but mighty - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Alibi Bar & Place: small but mighty

Ready to Bust a Move?
If you think you can dance, here are 15 places to prove it.
By Erin Moore

SLC's nightlife scene is full of opportunities to strut your stuff on the dance floor, whether you want to dance silent-disco style or fall in line (dance). Read below for our guide to the best places to dance the night away in Salt Lake City.

Alibi Bar & Place
Small but mighty, Alibi continues to be an unexpected place to get down—and due to the cozy size of this craft cocktail-slinging bar and place, up close and personal with your dancing partner. Expect DJs spinning a variety of R&B, pop both new and old, and unexpected remixes. 369 S. Main, SLC, 385-259-0616

Area 51
All-ages have their very own dance floor at this bi-level dance venue where 18+ locals have their own place to groove, while 21+ folks can get a few drinks and wander between the two areas with their respective DJs. Don't miss out on their famous goth nights, or the iconic Goth Prom! 451 S. 400 West, SLC, 801-534-0819,

Club Karumba
If you want an excuse to show off your niche moves and hold a date close, head to Karamba, the Sugar House dance venue where Latin heat rules the night—look forward to reggaeton, bachata, cumbia, merengue and salsa. 1051 E. 2100 South, SLC, 801-696-0639

Club Verse
A new addition to a changing State Street, Club Verse is not only injecting atmosphere into the area but working to be another welcoming space for LGBTQ+ folks to let loose. With live music also on the horizon, Club Verse is a dance floor worth checking out. 609 S. State, SLC,

Durango Bar
Another State Street locale, Durango is bringing live Latin music and bands to the weekend crowd—great for anyone who wants to dance to more than just electronic music but not miss out on the lively club atmosphere. 923 S. State, SLC, 801-712-2662

Gem Nightclub
A new nightclub on the SLC scene, Gem is the best new place to indulge in SLC's best hip hop music, from favorite local DJs like DJ Juggy, DJ Mak and DJ Mezz. Besides their regular Urban Nights, don't miss out on their theme nights and touring guest performers. 132 Pierpont Ave., SLC, 801-654-3684,

Good Grammar
This tucked-away spot on Gallivan Avenue is a must-stop if you're moving between bars on Main and State Street—just get there before the line to get in is down the block. Before it gets busy, grab a bite and one of their finer cocktails before the dancing sets in for the night. 69 E. Gallivan Ave., SLC,

Ibiza SLC
At Ibiza you can get your Latin dance music fix—from Afrobeats, World Music to reggaeton raves and live music and DJs. And with theme nights galore, this nightclub is guaranteed to give any group a novel experience. 180 W. 400 South, SLC, 385-347-9076,

International Bar
On weekends this rather new State Street bar is vibrant with a rotating variety of local DJs, most notably their goth night DJs. But hit them up on any day of the week for interestingly themed DJ sets and live music from local and touring bands. 342 S. State, SLC, 801-906-8798,

Mambo Nightclub SLC
Another addition to what appears to be an SLC Latin nightclub renaissance, Mambo Nightclub brings the party (and DJs, and theme nights) to the west side of the city, just between Rose Park and downtown. 536 W. 100 South, SLC, 801-673-9895,

One of SLC's buzziest new additions to the queer bar scene is also a great place to just go dance, with various rooms featuring various DJs each night—so you can pick your vibe and be sure to have a perfect night. 49 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-935-4424,

You don't have to wait until summertime rave season starts to enjoy local and touring acts spinning dubstep, electronica and all manner of dance music—Sky not only towers in stature but in its year-round offerings. 149 Pierpont Ave., SLC, 801-702-9014,

Here, you have more than enough space to let loose—the restored 19th-century building is cavernous. Multiple bars and multiple areas to dance pull in a young crowd eager for pop DJs, and that's what they get. 32 Exchange Place, SLC, 801-322-3200,

Westerner Club
SLC's famous country western bar provides a dancing experience like no other—on the big dance floor, you can join an ocean of line dancers all moving in unison to big country hits. Just make sure you dodge the couples practicing swings and drops. 3360 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-5447,

Why Kiki
This may or may not be the only place in SLC where you can just as easily watch a drag show, dance with the crowd, then pop down to a dedicated dance floor to groove to silent disco, all in one place. There's no question when it comes to what to do at Why Kiki. 69 W. 100 South, SLC, 801-641-6115,

Kilby Block Party - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Kilby Block Party

Shake, Rattle and Roll
Don't miss these summer music festivals of 2024.
By Emilee Atkinson

There is no shortage of music festivals in Utah. The summer is jampacked with huge shows, and it can be hard to keep track. Never fear though, here's a list of some of the biggest festivals and all of the info you need to plan your epic, music-filled summer.

Kilby Block Party
Friday, May 10- Sunday, May 12
Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, SLC,
Man, oh man. Nothing gets people hyped these days quite like Kilby Block Party. The concert series started as a tribute to Kilby Court's 25th anniversary but has grown into something more entirely. Thousands flock to the series each year, and it only seems to get bigger and bigger. Be prepared to party even harder as KBP enters its fifth year. The full lineup is online along with tickets, travel packages and all other info you need to come rock out.

Ogden Music Festival
Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2
Fort Buenaventura 2450 A Ave., Ogden,
Why come to Ogden if you're not going to stop in at Ogden Music Festival? Sure, there are plenty of reasons to visit O-Town, but if you're a fan of bluegrass, folk and acoustic music in general, you do not want to miss this festival. Some of the acts you'll get to see this year are Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Sarah Jarosz, Hays Carll, Celisse, Say She She, Las Cafeteras, Pixie & The Partygrass Boys and more. Head to Ogden Music Festival's website for all show details, as well as information on volunteering if that's your bag.

Fort Desolation Fest
Thursday, June 6-Saturday, June 8
Cougar Ridge Resort, 800 S. 600 East,
Want to head out of town for an adventure? If yes, Fort Desolation Fest should be your destination. Head down south to listen to great tunes and do some camping while you're there. Reserve an on-site camping spot, or check out this year's new glamping feature. This year's lineup includes Black Pumas, Sierra Ferrell, Paul Cauthen, The Record Company, Jaime Wyatt, The Lil Smokies, Pokey LaFarge, Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, Olivia Wolf and Cory Mon.

Utah Blues Festival
Friday, June 14- Saturday, June 15
Gallivan Center, 50 E. 200 South, SLC,
Nearly 10 years on, the Utah Blues Festival returns once more to bring you all of your blues favorites to one place. This year you can catch Larry McCray, Tab Benoit, Dennis Jones, Cash Box Kings, Sue Foley, Southern Avenues, and many more. Enjoy some great music and attend the various free workshops.

Deer Valley Music Festival
July 5-August 9
2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City,
If you love a concert and a gorgeous view, don't miss any of the shows of the Deer Valley Music Festival. Bring your coziest blanket, and pre-order a picnic from the venue and have a relaxing evening of beautiful music in the Snow Park amphitheater. Among the gems of the summer lineup is Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit w/Adeem the Artist on July 13.

Country Fan Fest
Wednesday, July 24- Saturday, July 27
Deseret Peak Complex, 2930 UT-112,
Discover the electrifying lineup of country music's brightest stars set to grace the stages of Country Fan Fest. Explore the artist roster below to find out who's performing on each day of this unforgettable music festival at the Deseret Peak Complex in Tooele County. This year's lineup includes Neal McCoy, Graham Barham, Riley Green, Chase Rice, Aaron Watson, Abby Anderson, Bailey Zimmerman, and many others.

Urban Arts Festival
Saturday, July 27-Sunday, July 28
The Gateway, 400 W. 200 South, SLC,
The Urban Arts Festival is your one stop shop to see great performances, buy gorgeous art and just have an overall great time with those in your community. "Rooted in the social and cultural life of the community, Urban Arts Festival provides a platform for cultural art, music, and performance," their website reads. There's plenty of activities for everyone, including kids, so feel free to bring the whole fam! Keep an eye on the website for a full list of activities that will be at the festival and for the lineup of music acts.

Park City Song Summit
Thursday, Aug. 15-Saturday Aug. 17
Newpark Town Center, 1389 Center Drive,
Park City,
The Park City Song Summit is a unique event that combines music and wellness. "Park City Song Summit was started out of a passion for music and a mission to bring clarity and normalcy to the struggles musicians, artists, and music lovers alike face around mental health and dependency," according to the event's website.

Das Energi Festival
Friday, Aug. 9-Saturday, Aug. 10
The Great Saltair, 12408 W. Saltair Drive, Magna,
SLC has become well-known over the years for its ever-growing EDM scene. Each year, thousands head to The Great Saltair to dance to the very best the genre has to offer. Das Energi has continued to grow and become a favorite festival of ravers and connoisseurs of dance music. The full lineup wasn't available at press time, but you can expect a music festival unlike any other, with a backdrop of the Great Saltair salt flats.

Twilight Concert  Series - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Twilight Concert Series

Twilight Concert Series
Dates TBA
Gallivan Center, 50 E. 200 South, SLC,
Before Kilby Block Party, before Das Energi, there was the Twilight Concert Series. Now in its 37th year, the Twilight Concert Series has continued to recognize incredible national acts alongside our own beloved locals. It typically has a diverse lineup that appeals to a wide range of listeners. Keep an eye out for the full lineup, and don't sleep on getting tickets! They tend to go fast.

Ogden Twilight
May 16 to Sept. 13, 2024
Ogden Amphitheater, 343 E. 25th St., Ogden,
The baby sibling of the SLC Twilight Series, Ogden Twilight brings the fun up north to offer even more variety to concertgoers. The 2024 schedule includes: May 16: Phoenix w/Metric and Beastie Vee; June 22: Cannons w/Washed Out; July 5: Ben Böhmer w/Tinlicker; July 6: Diplo w/Gioli & Assia; Aug. 8: Killer Mike & The Mighty Midnight Revival / Hippo Campus; Aug. 14: St. Vincent; Aug. 23: TBA; Aug. 29: Thievery Corporation w/Dirtier; Sept. 6: Broken Social Scene; Sept. 13: Tycho.

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