The Utah Arts Fest turns 40 Years Young | Cover Story | Salt Lake City Weekly

June 22, 2016 News » Cover Story

The Utah Arts Fest turns 40 Years Young 

The past, present and future of the ever-morphing arts fest.

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2016 Utah Arts Festival Guide and Highlights
By Scott Renshaw


The 2016 Utah Arts Festival takes place June 23-26 in downtown Salt Lake City on 400 South between State Street and 300 East, noon-11 p.m. daily. Here's everything you need to know if you're planning to attend.

Tickets: For the first time this year, the opening Thursday will be free admission all day. Adult tickets (ages 13-64) are $12 per day Friday-Sunday; seniors (65+) $6; free ages 12 and under. The "Weekday Lunchtime Special" continues this year, with $6 adult tickets available if purchased Friday before 3 p.m. A 4-day all-festival pass (available at the festival box office Thursday only) is $30; those who attend and purchase tickets on Friday or Saturday can receive a two-for-the-price-of-one ticket for a return visit. Festival box offices accept cash only; ATMs are positioned outside the festival grounds for those who need to use them. Purchase tickets and/or enter at any one of five entrances on the perimeter of the festival grounds; no need just to get backed up at the main entrance on 400 South, where folks will be pouring off the trains.

Parking/Transportation: Downtown SLC offers plenty of parking spaces, but not a lot of them are convenient to the festival grounds, especially if you're pushing a stroller or walking with kids. If at all possible, make use of Trax, taking (or transferring to) the Red Line and getting off at Library Square stop. Trains usually run every 15-20 minutes, and UTA will be running extended service every day of the festival, with the last train leaving Library Square at 11:30 p.m. to accommodate those staying for the late music headliners. Free valet bicycle parking is also available for those who chose to bike to the festival—and those who do so will also get a $2 discount on festival general admission. The same discount applies to those who take Uber and register online at

What to Bring/What Not to Bring: Outside food and beverage (except for factory-sealed water bottles) are not permitted inside the festival grounds. Free ice water is available, however, and bringing a wide-mouth empty reusable water bottle is a good way to avoid having to make multiple visits on a warm day. Also prohibited: weapons, skates/skateboards, pets (except service animals) or anything intended for solicitation (posters, flyers, etc.) Do bring: sunscreen/hats/other sun protection, cash (or your ATM card, if you don't care about the surcharges for using a machine that's not from your own bank), weather-appropriate attire (including something for if you plan to be around after the sun goes down), comfortable walking shoes, ID (if you plan to purchase alcohol).

Food Vendors: More than a dozen local restaurants and specialty food providers will be represented in the festival food court and at other select locations. Again: Bring cash. Plenty of kid-friendly options will be available—including The Pie pizza and the PB&J booth in the kids' Art Yard—as well as offerings from Yoshi's Japanese Grill, Dionysos Greek, Crepe Time and more. Seating in the shaded table area is generally hard to come by during peak lunch and dinner hours, so consider eating earlier or later to avoid lines and find a place to sit. Or be bold and friendly, and ask to pull up a chair at an already-occupied (but large) table.

Other Important Facilities: A first aid station (also one of the locations for free water) is located near the northeast corner of The Leonardo. Security and Lost & Found can be found in the retail space near the main Library Arch entrance (mid-block on 400 South, between 200 East and 300 East). Most of the toilet facilities will be port-a-potties—located in two main groupings near the Park Stage and Art Yard—but those who are particularly fastidious or need to change a baby might want to use the restrooms on the lower level of the library building, with access opposite the library auditorium used for the Fear No Film Festival.

Schedule of Performances/Music Headliners: Dozens of music groups, dance groups, comedians, spoken word artists and others will be at the festival's various venues throughout the four days. For a full schedule of events—whether by date or by category—visit the festival website at, or download the official UAF app.

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