Grid City Music Festival 2023 | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly

Grid City Music Festival 2023 

Grid City Beer Works puts on an epic bash.

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With shining silver tanks brimming with just-brewed beer, Grid City Beer Works was well-equipped for their opening day—positioned to become a favorite South Salt Lake social center, complete with ambrosial-grade craft beer and titillating eats to boot.

"It's kind of a shitty story actually," says Drew Reynolds, co-owner of Grid City. "We were supposed to open March 19 of 2020." Since we all know what was flying down the pipeline towards us—although unsuspecting at the time—it's needless to note that the grand opening didn't go as planned for Reynolds and his team. In fact, it didn't happen at all until months later—and even then, Grid City boasted only nine tables in their cavernous building to ensure customer safety.

"A lot of our efforts became disillusioned by the way we opened. The ideas we had were designed to make this a very social place, and it wasn't," says Reynolds. "But I've always had a love for music. I wanted to do live music from the start, and [Grid City's] backyard is the perfect place to do it. My favorite kind of marketing is throwing parties, and live music works better than anything else."

Reynolds' desire for some good old-fashioned socialization through the common connector of music was not limited to just Grid City's backyard, though. "A couple of years ago, the city of South Salt Lake deemed this 'The Creative Industries Zone' or, as we call it, 'The Zone,'" he explains. "There's this idea that nothing fun happens south of 21st South. What happens? Sandy Amphitheater? We are South Salt Lake, right? I just want to push that a little further," Reynolds says.

"They are doing so well in The Granary district downtown, but how do we get traffic here in South Salt Lake? How do we tell people that we exist? I mean, there are at least five breweries and three distilleries down here, but do we take advantage of them? Or how close they are in radius to all these different artisans?"

Enter the collaboration of the year: Grid City Music Festival. On Aug. 25 and 26, 30 (yes, you heard that right: 30!) different musicians will perform across South Salt Lake in seven different venues, all connected by a Fun Bus (!!) which runs the whole festival course every 10 minutes, paying close attention to local murals commissioned by The Mural Fest. Participating venues include Grid City Beer Works, Pat's BBQ (at Commonwealth), Saltfire Brewing Co., Level Crossing Brewing Co., Old Cuss Cafe & Chapel Brewing, Beehive Distillery and The Commonwealth Room.

Now, hold on to your hats, because we're talking about a weekend willing to go the whole nine yards. Performances in the all-local line-up include the likes of Triggers and Slips, All Systems Fall, Vinyl Koala, The Alpines, JRAD Cooley, JT Draper, Brent Lee, Meander Cat, Talia Keyes & The Love and 21 others. There will be indoor, outdoor, and rooftop venues. Local food vendors and local, South Salt Lake brews and booze will keep your bellies and glass ever-full. Run rampant at the afterparties each night at The Commonwealth Room. Throw axes. Play cornhole. Punch passes, enter raffles, and win give-aways. Ride a damn Fun Bus.

What more do you people want? Free entry? You've got it! Every venue is hosting these world-class musicians and their delectable sounds for free–even the Fun Bus flies without charge. You only need a ticket for the afterparties, which you simply can't miss. With tickets for only $15, guaranteed face-melting music, cups of beer that runneth over and lots (and lots!) of dancing, what better way to spend the otherwise lonesome summer dusk?

As you may have gleaned, organizing this fest was no small feat. Many prominent and brilliant figures came together to ensure that this jam-packed weekend will be both a fun and fruitful endeavor. Between the combined powers of mastermind Drew Reynolds, The Commonwealth Room's owner Darin Piccoli, musician-booking maestro Derrek Wright and backing from the City of South Salt Lake (just to name a few), Grid City Music Fest is a goliath reminder of the power of The Zone.

But how did this elephantine collaboration between restaurants and breweries even get rolling? "I went and knocked on their doors," says Reynolds, simply. "I'm an unselfish person when it comes to sharing the love, 'cuz when there's love to share, it's important. And there is so much love that goes into this city. Our breweries are so underrated, and our scene is so underrated. I told the other businesses: If that's your vibe and you want to bring it, then bring it. I think it's going to be very unique for people to go to these different spots and see these very different artists."

And while the Grid City Music Fest is assuredly a massive undertaking likely to be a smashing success, it comes down to something simple. "Sometimes it's important to party in your community," Reynolds says. "This town doesn't party. We have the mountains, that's what we do. But we can do both. There is so much to offer here, but we don't let our hair down.

"I just want this to become something where people say 'Yo, Grid City Music Fest is this weekend; we are not going to the desert, we are not going to backpack, we are going to hang around South Salt Lake City and party. And we're gonna bring our friends, and we are going to have fun, and we are going to take the Fun Bus.' Grid City can be whatever it wants to be. This is a really cool town that gets a bad rap, and it's unnecessary. Can we throw some fucking parties in this town? We're so in shape from all that hiking that I know we can rally."

Rally we will! Visit gridcitymusicfest.com to purchase afterparty tickets, sign-up for the Fun Bus, view the full line up, plan your route and mark your calendar.

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Sophie Caligiuri

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