Twilight Concert Series switches it up with two concerts this week
Matthew Merrill, a soon-to-be senior at Bountiful's Viewmont High School, is a fan of Grizzly Bear.
So several weeks ago, he was puzzled when he learned that the rock band would be performing a Twilight Concert Series show on a ... Wednesday.
But the wildly popular concert series, presented by the Salt Lake City Arts Council, has always been on Thursdays, and Thursdays only. "I thought it was a mistake," Merrill said.
It was no mistake.
For the first time Wednesday at Pioneer Park, a Twilight Concert was held on a day other than Thursday, with Grizzly Bear headlining and Youth Lagoon opening.
In another first, another Twilight Concert will be held tonight, making it the first time shows presented by the Arts Council are being held on successive days, rather than the traditional schedule of once a week throughout July and August.
"I've always wanted to do something different," said Casey Jarman, founder and director of the concert series, which is in its 26th season this summer. "I don't want to wreck the Thursday vibe, so we'll see how the audience responds."
Jarman acknowledged that the approximately 200 Twilight staffers and volunteers "are going to be tired" by the time Thursday's concert wraps up, and that trash pickup will be more complicated than usual, but that other than that, it's hard to complain where there's more music, rather than the same as last year.
The change-up happened because the Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear had been on Jarman's wish list for a long time, and the band was available only Wednesday. French rock band Phoenix was booked for Thursday, so Jarman decided that this would be the perfect week for a trial run. (Phoenix ended up canceling before the official schedule was released, so in a stroke of good luck, Grammy-winning neo-soul singer Erykah Badu was able to fill in.)
Even though conditions at Pioneer Park were mild and breezy Wednesday, the crowd at Pioneer Park was lighter than usual, but that is probably because Grizzly Bear and Youth Lagoon are more experimental acts, rather than other acts this summer that are more well-known such as rapper Ludacris on Aug. 15 and hip-hop musician Kid Cudi on Aug. 22.
Marc Vogel, who manages vendors at the adjacent Twilight Market, said they were universally excited to show up and sell their wares Wednesday, even though it meant an extra night of work. There are 20 food and drink vendors at the market, with about 70 applying for those profitable slots every year.
Jim Mouritsen, owner of the vegan food cart Tacos Street, said he was happy to get two opportunities to sell his tempeh and seitan tacos this week at the Twilight Market. "I'm curious if a Wednesday crowd comes out," he said. "Some people might work every Thursday night, so this gives them a chance to come out."
Over at the World Dog cart, owner Joe Ballato said he was excited to be able to sell his gourmet dogs and frozen bananas while listening to two concerts on successive days.
Jarman said he expects to schedule more Twilight Concerts on days other than Thursdays in the future.
Erykah Badu with THEESatisfaction
When • Thursday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m.
Where • Pioneer Park, 400 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $5 at gate