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Sundance Festival will shift dates to avoid MLK weekend

First Published      Last Updated Sep 04 2013 02:29 pm

Sundance Institute and the city of Park City are on the verge of extending their contract to keep the Sundance Film Festival in the Summit County ski town through 2026 — with a major scheduling change.

According to the draft contract, posted on the city government's website Tuesday, Sundance and Park City have made a deal to keep the festival from overlapping with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

In the past, according to city documents, the festival has overlapped with the holiday weekend four years out of 10. The overlap has cost the city an estimated $4.2 million a year in ski revenue on that three-day weekend.

The city wants to market itself as the go-to ski location for the King holiday, but cannot on the years the city is filled with Hollywood types.

The change will not go into effect with the 2014 festival, planning for which is well underway. The festival will run Jan. 16-26, 2014, and overlap with the MLK holiday weekend.

But, in 2015, the festival will shift dates, starting Thursday, Jan. 22, and ending Sunday, Feb. 1, to avoid the holiday weekend. Some years, like 2019, the festival will end as late as Feb. 3. (And, no, if Robert Redford sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, there will not be six more weeks of the film festival.)

The new contract will be discussed at the Park City City Council meeting on Thursday.