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Twilight Concert Series divulges diverse lineup

Published May 10, 2013 8:38 am

Music • Concert series founder says start of fee last year a good call despite big attendance drop.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Performers for this summer's 26th annual Twilight Concert Series were announced Wednesday by the Salt Lake City Arts Council.

The lineup includes a mix of nine musical acts, from the indie-rock band Belle & Sebastian — which opens the series on July 18 — to rockers Flaming Lips and Grammy-winning R&B singer Erykah Badu.

Twilight concerts will be held in Salt Lake City's Pioneer Park on Thursday nights — except one week in August when there will be back-to-back concerts on Wednesday and Thursday.

For the second year, a $5 admission fee will be charged for each concert. This year, fans also will have to pay a new 75-cent service fee when purchasing tickets.

Last year's decision to charge admission — part of a three-season plan — earned universal praise from city leaders, downtown merchants and music fans, Casey Jarman, series founder and director, said during the Wednesday announcement.

The money collected from ticket sales was put back into the series, allowing for more flexibility in selecting bands, said Jarman, adding that the series has never been seen as a fundraiser for the city or arts council.

Charging admission did affect attendance. In 2012, the average show attracted around 16,000 people, while attendance during the previous season — when shows were free — averaged about 33,000, Jarman said.

The Salt Lake City Arts Council wants to find the "right balance" of high-profile acts and a community series affordable to "the most people possible," said executive director Karen Krieger.

Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, agreed.

"Five dollars is a good threshold," he said. Downtown businesses supported the entrance fee because anecdotal evidence showed that people who are willing to pay $5 for a concert are more willing to patronize businesses that are near the venue. Those people, he said, "have a little more skin in the game."

The series also earns praise from performers. Jarman said Band of Horses, which headlined a show in 2012, was initially skeptical about the program. The words "arts council" and "free series" raised red flags for a band of its stature. However, once they saw the atmosphere and the solid production values, they were pleased, Jarman said. After the show, the group told him it was one of the best shows they had ever performed.

dburger@sltrib.com

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Salt Lake City Twilight Series

Salt Lake City's annual concert series continues in 2013 with eight Thursday concerts and a Wednesday night show. Performers include:

July 18 • Belle & Sebastian with Blitzen Trapper

July 25 • Flaming Lips with TBA

Aug. 1 • The National with Sharon van Etten

Aug. 7 • Grizzly Bear with Youth Lagoon

Aug. 8 • Erykah Badu with TBA

Aug. 15 • TBA

Aug. 22 • Kid Cudi with TBA

Aug. 29 • Empire of the Sun with TBA

Sept. 5 • MGMT with TBA

Where • Pioneer Park, 300 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $5 plus 75 cent service fee; season tickets $35 plus service fee. Purchase at 24tix.com