A conversation with Chris Mautz, booker and promoter at Red Butte Garden
Last year, when the schedule for Red Butte Garden's summer schedule was released, the number of shows shocked observers with a whopping 21.
This year's Red Butte Garden concert series features 26 shows from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
"That's the new high-water mark for the Garden," said Chris Mautz, who books and promotes the shows.
New this year is a new offering for hungry music-lovers. While season packages have been available in the past, this summer partial season packages will be available, with six shows in each package.
The packages seem designed to lure in different demographics. Package D, for example, is catered to younger audiences, with its cheapest price and Bon Iver, Wilco and Andrew Bird, among others. The other three packages cater to Red Butte Garden's most loyal demographic: older audiences. Package A, with Dead Can Dance and Sheryl Crow, will lure in fans of the 1980's and 1990's; Package B will entice jazz and world-music fans with Diana Krall and Norah Jones; and Package C will attract fans of Americana and roots music with Steve Earle and Steve Martin (on the banjo).
"We didn't try to over-think it too much," Mautz said of the grouping, explaining why 26-year-old Colbie Caillat is in the same package as 72-year-old Mavis Staples.
The packages allow Red Butte Garden members to take advantage of the early purchase period, a week before other Garden members and two weeks before the general public. The packages offer $5 discounts on each ticket that members of the general public are not offered. In addition, in the past, certain shows sell out before tickets are available to the general public.
A glance at the line-up reveals many returning acts, including Josh Ritter, Brandi Carlile and Bonnie Raitt. Some artists, Mautz said, ask their booking agents to look for open Red Butte Garden dates when planning summer shows. "The first time Sheryl Crow played, she said she wanted to come back every year," he said. The venue has a "lasting and impactful" effect on the musicians, he said.
In past years, a handful of shows are added to the schedule mid-season, but Mautz said 26 shows makes for a very busy season for staff and volunteers who man the concerts. However, he did add, "Never say never."
One thing is for sure, he said. "I think it will be memorable, that's for damn sure."