When rap artist Ludacris was announced as the final headliner for the 26th annual Twilight Concert Series, it completed a lineup more than six years in the making.
That’s how long it takes Casey Jarman, Twilight’s program director, to book bands for the series year after year.
Jarman said he’s tried to get headliner Belle and Sebastian to come to Salt Lake City for more than five years. On Thursday, July 18, the indie-rock band leads off the 2013 summer concert series at Pioneer Park.
Ludacris will headline Aug. 15. Jarman said the appearance is timely for the rapper who wants to get back into performing after starring in “Fast & Furious 6,” which was released May 24.
“He is going to work for us to fill the gap we had,” Jarman said.
The rap artist rounds out a diverse lineup that includes rock band Flaming Lips on July 25, Grammy-winning R&B singer Erykah Badu on Aug. 8, hip-hop artist Kid Cudi on Aug. 22 and psychedelic rock band MGMT on Sept. 5.
Sponsored by the Salt Lake City Arts Council, the Twilight series saw average attendance drop by about half last year to 16,000. Of course, it was the first year it wasn’t free. Admission now required a $5 ticket.
Jarman predicts crowd numbers will go up this year, even with the 75-cent service fee added.
The money made from ticket sales goes back into the series to make the shows more enjoyable and create a better atmosphere for those in attendance.
“We don’t want to have it too big,” Jarman said. “We don’t make money off of this for a long shot. … The National [on Aug. 1] will probably be a big show, and Kid Cudi, but we don’t want to get to 50,000 people down there. We don’t anticipate shows to sell out.”
One of last season’s highlights was Nas performing for a crowd of more than 25,000.
Jarman said this season might be one of the best yet. In previous years, he and the arts council tried to fill the lineup with whomever they could get. This year it’s different, with bands guaranteed to entertain.
“Grizzly Bear [on Aug. 7] is probably the most interesting band touring this year,” Jarman said. “Empire of the Sun is a crazy fun show. I’m looking forward to every one of them this year.”
July 18 • Belle & Sebastian with Blitzen Trapper
July 25 • Flaming Lips with CSS
Aug. 1 • The National with Sharon van Etten
Aug. 7 • Grizzly Bear with Youth Lagoon
Aug. 8 • Erykah Badu
Aug. 15 • Ludacris
Aug. 22 • Kid Cudi
Aug. 29 • Empire of the Sun
Sept. 5 • MGMT with Foxygen
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.