Outdoor Music at Its Finest
An outdoor shindig of world-class musicians in downtown Salt Lake City? It sounds too good to be true, but nope, this dream has been a reality every summer for more than 30 years.
The Twilight Concert Series, presented by the Salt Lake Arts Council, has fostered hundreds of vibrant evenings since its inauguration. The concerts are a high point of the hottest season and the place where teens, hipsters, families and audiophiles of all walks of life congregate to enjoy some tunes.
The series began in the summer of 1988, under the moniker Brown Bag Twilight Series, and hosted 11 free concerts in the Salt Lake Arts Center (now UMOCA) sculpture courtyard. Starting in the mid-’90s, the series moved to Gallivan Center and was there until it moved to Pioneer Park in 2010. Now back at Gallivan Center, the series began charging admission in 2012.
Over the series’ history, it has attracted huge acts from every category of music, featuring bands such as The Black Keys, Big Boi, Wu-Tang Clan, The Decemberists, Sonic Youth, Girl Talk, Iron & Wine, Beck and so many more. The list is an incredibly diverse assortment of acts, styles and genres — indie rock, reggae, hip hop, electronic, acoustic and more. This diversity is in line with the mission of the series: "connect audiences through live music by presenting musically diverse artists that represent strong artistic values and diverse social principles."
An evening at Twilight exemplifies this. As folks begin to congregate on the lawn in front of the stage, you are likely to see families spread out on blankets, eating food from the Twilight Food Market, which offers myriad culinary options from food trucks and pop-up restaurants. It creates a grand festival-like atmosphere with local food and beverages. Looking further around the venue, there’s folks chatting and taking selfies and others drinking cold libations sold onsite.
Then, music starts to come over the speakers and it’s one of the best local bands taking the stage to warm up the crowd. For each of the season's concerts, a local band will open.
Story by Austen Diamond