The Best Live Music Around: A Guide to the Utah Music Scene

Spring is ending, colleges are letting out, and soon summer will be in full swing. If you’re looking for things to do around Utah that will get you out of the house, keep the kids occupied, or make use of your after-work free time, then this blog series is right up your alley. Each week I’ll post about a different set of places you can visit and activities you can do around Utah.

Some of you may know that Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series started a couple of weekends ago with Desert Noises, The Blue Aces, and Caleb Darger, and that the Twilight Concert Series line-up was announced last week. There’s a lot going on in the Utah music scene, so here’s what you need to know!

This Week’s Featured Destinations

Provo Rooftop Concert Series (Free)
First Friday of the month June – October, 100 North 100 West, Provo

Twilight Concert Series ($5)
Every Thursday July 18th – September 5th, 300 West 400 South, Salt Lake City

Crucial Fest ($25)
June 26th – 29th

Fusion Fest ($10)
Mid August

Provo Rooftop Concert Series

The Provo Rooftop Concert series is hosted on the third level of the parking terrace on 100 North and 100 West in Provo, and is completely free. The event is supported by local restaurants and business, and features local music from Utah. Local businesses host booths on the terrace top, selling food and local crafts, and the crowd can either stand at the front by the stage or sit on the floor or blankets.

This year’s lineup features a number of local artists, including Ryan Innes from 2013’s season of The Voice, and is a great place to discover and support the Utah music scene. Joshua James, The New Electric Sound and Parlor Hawk are some of the bigger acts, but these shows generally draw large crowds and have a great atmosphere. If you want to be able to stand near the stage it is best to arrive early, otherwise bring your blanket, sit back, and relax.

June 7: Joshua James, Polytype, and Jay William Henderson
July 5: Get Off My Cloud: The Songs of the Rolling Stones, and The National Parks
August 2: Mindy Gledhill, Mideau, and Scott Shepard
September 6: Ryan Innes, and The New Electric Sound
October 4:The Lower Lights, and Parlor Hawk

Twilight Concert Series

This is probably my favorite Utah music event. Having moved from the Gallivan Center to Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park a couple of years ago, Twilight now charges a small $5 entry instead of being entirely free, but provides a season pass option to save more money.

In the past, Twilight has hosted acts such as Q-Tip, Toots and the Maytals, The Roots, Common, Beach House, Bon Iver, M. Ward, Iron and Wine, Beirut, She & Him, Modest Mouse, The Black Keys, and Sonic Youth, amongst others, and this year presents another excellent line-up. I am particularly excited about Belle and Sebastian, The Flaming Lips, Grizzly Bear, and my all-time favorite artist, Erykah Badu. Presenting an eclectic mix of Indie rock, folk, and soul/hip-hop, the Twilight Concert Series is definitely somewhere to check out this summer, whether you’re just looking for new music or seeing an artist you love.

July 18: Belle and Sebastian with Blitzen Trapper
July 25: The Flaming Lips
August 1: The National with Sharon Van Etten
August 7: Grizzly Bear with Youth Lagoon
August 8: Erykah Badu
August 22: Kid Cudi
September 5: MGMT

Crucial Fest

Crucial Fest is in its third year and was founded by Exigent Records owner Jarom Bischoff. This year’s events will feature 50 bands/performers from across Utah. In addition to live music, Crucial Fest also supports local artists and restaurants, aiming to bring the various art scenes of Salt Lake County together. This year’s shows will be held from Wednesday June 26th to Saturday June 29th at a number of different venues across Salt Lake City. This is a great event for supporting local art, music, food, and business.

June 26th
Kilby Court, 6pm: Eli Whitnet, Temples, Water Liars, and The Hung Ups
The Wood Shed, 9pm: God’s Revolver, Pleasure Thieves, Slower Mover, John-Ross Boyce and His Troubles, Top Dead Celebrity, and Heartless Breakers

June 27th
Kilby Court, 6pm: Dead Pilots, Dustbloom, and Sailor Mouth, and Machines of Man
Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 9pm: Done, Jetty, Thunderfist, and Pest Rulz.

June 28th
Wasted Space, 3pm: Sub Rosa, Cicadas, Jr. Worship, La Verkin, Scalps, and Merlins Beard
The Shred Shed, 4pm: INVDRS, He Whose Ox is Gored, Eons, Breag Naofa, Into the Storm, Rocky Mountain District, and Empire of Whales
Bar Deluxe, 8pm: Hurris & Gig, Atheist, New Truth, Broken Silence, Johnny Utah, Are.Oh!Why?, and Sam

June 29th
Exchange Pl., 1pm: Shadow Puppet, Hope & Time, Cody Taylor, Jesus or Genome, and Harmon’s Heart
The Shred Shed, 2pm: Burning Love, Day Hymns, Badass Magic, Settle Down, Worst Friends, Die Off, Smooth Sailing, Collin Creek, Antics, and Sights/Sounds
Wasted Space, 3pm: Oxcross, Black Acid Devil, Baby Gurl, Serial Hawk, La Verkin, Yaktooth, Filth Lords, and Huldra
Urban Lounge, 9pm: Muscle Hawk, Dulce Sky, Hang Time, Palace of Buddies, and Koala Temple

Fusion Fest

A Utah County music event that is not to be missed is Fusion Fest. The festival dates are yet to be confirmed, but is set to be held  in mid August. If last year is anything to go by, a $10 wristband purchase will get you into all of the local shows, as well as discounts at local restaurants. Tentative venues for this year’s shows are the Provo Bicycle Collective (1100 West 49 North, Provo) and Muse Music Café (151 North University Avenue, Provo). Fusion fest focuses solely on local business, art, and music, with some of the funds going to The Provo Bicycle Collective, a local, non-profit organization.

Although the official line-up hasn’t been announced, there are a number of confirmed bands that are worth checking out. John Ross Boyce and His Troubles are big local favorites who provide a really great live show if you’re into country and blues,  if you’re a Zelda fan be sure to check out Temples, an experimental rock band who take inspiration from the Zelda video games, as well as heavier bands such as Baby Gurl, Vied, and Rocky Mountain District.

There are a lot of bands involved in this this year’s Fusion Fest line-up, so don’t forget to check the “I Support the Local Scene” page for updates on this year’s confirmed shows and the venues. And, as always, don’t forget to check out your local music venues for any events they have going on, I’d suggest Velour in Provo and Kilby Court in Salt Lake City.

What Utah music events are you excited to attend this summer?

1 comment on “The Best Live Music Around: A Guide to the Utah Music Scene”

  1. Christoph Louis

    Thanks for the article! I’ve been trying to re-update myself on all the happenings around the music scene in Provo, and you totally reminded me of a couple I forgot, and some I hadn’t ever heard of. Putting it all together in a website to help out aspiring musicians,

    So once again, thanks for the help!

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