A June concert series at downtown Salt Lake City’s Gallivan Center may become a booze-free event unless organizers convince the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that they are not trying to skirt state liquor laws.
The Salt City Sounds, a three-night concert series that takes place June 6, 20 and 27, is being sponsored by Broadway Media and Park City Live.
But the two Utah concert promoters were denied a special event permit from the DABC earlier this month. The permit would allow ticket holders, 21 and older, to buy beer, wine and spirits in a roped-off area at the venue.
The concert promoters appealed the decision to the state liquor commission Tuesday, but the board said it needs more information before it can make a final decision.
Broadway Media has sponsored Salt City Sounds since 2016 and has had no problem getting a special event permit.
Problems arose this year, however, because Broadway partnered with Park City Live.
Park City Live has had several past liquor violations, including one that is still unresolved, making it ineligible for another state liquor permit, said DABC Executive Director Sal Petilos.
The Broadway liquor application “raised reg flags,” he said, because it looked like Park City Live was actually producing most of the event and trying to skirt the ban by having Broadway Media apply for the liquor license.
“The contract was written in such a way that it looked like [the partnership] was a clear attempt by Park City Live to get around the violation requirements,” he told the liquor commission.
Petilos said it was clear from the contract submitted with the application that Park City Live would benefit financially from liquor sales during the concert as well as at an after-party.
Broadway Media’s Salt Lake City attorney, Gary Thorup, said the dispute amounted to a misunderstanding and that “it was Broadway Media that sought out Park City Live for the series,” not the other way around.
Dustin Esson, Park City Live’s managing director, agreed. “They approached us,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune after the meeting.
Still, the commission remained skeptical and asked that Broadway Media and Park City Live work with the DABC staff on a compromise.
“This thing is a mess,” said commission Chairman John T. Nielsen. “But I’d like to see it resolved.”
If the parties could reach a compromise, Nielsen promised to call a special commission meeting before the June 6 concert, featuring dance artist Steve Aoki.
Salt City Sounds should not be confused with Salt Lake City’s Twilight Concert Series, even though Broadway Media is taking responsibility for that series in 2018.
Twilight will stage five Thursday night concerts in August and September. It also will move the series back to the 7,000-capacity Gallivan Center after seven years at Pioneer Park.
Taking over Twilight was one of the reasons Broadway needed to partner with Park City Live on the Salt City series, said Thorup.
“They wanted to continue the series,” he said, “but needed a financial investor to make sure they could do both Twilight and Salt City Sounds.”
If there’s a lesson to be learned in this latest DABC dispute, said Commissioner Thomas Jacobson, it’s that “you live and die by your partners.”