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Utah Arts Festival: More than a bit of rain

First Published      Last Updated Jun 26 2014 07:14 pm

An unusual-for-Utah summer rainstorm hit the Utah Arts Festival just before 6 p.m. Thursday, turning Library Square into a quiet expanse with a few noisy islands.

The noise wasn't coming from amplifiers, as power has been deliberately but briefly shut off at the major stages, lest the electricity attract a lightning strike.

People gathered in any shelter available, like the canopy tents at the Park Stage and in the City Library atrium. The atmosphere is jovial, with many just laughing off the predictable unpredictability of Utah's weather.

In the Artist Marketplace, tent flaps came down and tarps came out, to protect more sensitive artwork from water damage.

The Australian street-theater troupe Strange Fruit canceled its 6 p.m. performance because of the storm. The troupe performs theatrical works atop 12-foot poles – which isn't a good idea when there's lightning about.

Strangely enough, the festival's one indoor venue, the City Library auditorium where the Fear No Film program plays, didn't benefit from the rain. The auditorium was only about a quarter full at 6:45.

Around 6:45, as the rain lightened a bit, the power came back on at the Big Mouth Stage by the City-County Building, and a cheer went up from the folks under that stage's tent as comics from Wiseguys Comedy Club could perform with a mic again.