Four years into its existence, the Kilby Court Block Party is becoming something of a music festival staple, in Utah and nationwide.
The block party, set for May 12-14, is the largest to date — and its size has spurred a venue change, from Library Square to the roomier Utah State Fairpark, at 1000 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City.
“As music lovers, we have been yearning for something like this for a long time, and to be able to create it ourselves has been incredibly rewarding,” said Nic Smith, managing director for S&S Presents, the concert booking and hosting company that organizes the festival. “We hope that we live up to our own expectations of what a music festival can be for a community.”
This year’s lineup is headlined by such national acts as The Strokes, Japanese Breakfast and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Utah-grown talent is also represented, including The Backseat Lovers, Anaïs Chantal and Ritt Momney.
Smith said the festival has sparked feelings of excitement, pride, bewilderment, nervousness and gratitude among the staff at S&S Presents — which operates the iconic all-ages venue Kilby Court, as well as The Urban Lounge and Metro Music Hall.
“This is the largest event that S&S Presents has hosted in our 15+ year history, so this is an incredibly significant event for all of us in our personal & professional lives,” Smith said via email. “There has never been a music festival of this genre/sentiment that is also of this size, and in the downtown SLC area.”
The logistics, Smith said, are staggering. “When you arrive to KBP4 and look around, every item that you are seeing was thought of and installed for a purpose, and every person with a staff t-shirt was brought on to realize the vision of the event,” he said.
The team listened to feedback from last year’s block party, with an eye toward improving the attendees’ experience. The results are efforts to improve ADA accommodations, food options, the length of lines, and elevated VIP experiences.
Just a few weeks before the event, the organizers even adjusted the performance schedule for the party’s four stages, after taking audience feedback.
“We knew we would need help this year, and have consulted with many people in the industry in order to perfect our large-scale event processes,” Smith said. “We know there will always be room to improve with each coming year, and our long-term mindset is to stay humble and keep learning as best we can with each iteration of this festival.”
The mission for S&S, Smith said, “has always been to facilitate meaningful connections between artists and fans in Salt Lake City. … This year’s Kilby Block Party feels like a nice representation of some incredible bands that we have worked with for years, combined with new artists who we believe in and want to see succeed. So we hope to continue growing with this model of support for years to come.”
The Kilby Court Block Party runs Friday through Sunday, May 12-14, at the Utah State Fairpark, 1000 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City. The performances run on four stages, with gates opening at noon all three days. General admission is $95 each day, or $229 for a three-day pass (plus fees); VIP options are also available. Many options are sold out or nearly sold out; resale tickets are available at 24Tix.com.