SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A summertime favorite activity in Utah’s capital city for more than three decades, the Twilight Concert Series will make a comeback two years in the making on Thursday night.
When Atlanta-based rapper, Big Boi, one half of the mega-successful rap group, Outkast, hits the stage at the Gallivan Center, it will be the first headlining show at the affordable concert series in 761 days.
Due to the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, the yearly concert series in which major performing artists entertain an outdoor audience with tickets in the $10 range was forced to take a break.
Although organizers were able to drum up a program to help out-of-work local musicians, called “Light Up Locals”, during the height of the crisis, getting back to the stage is a thrill for both the bands and their fans, Salt Lake City Arts Council executive director Felicia Baca tells ABC4.com.
“Salt Lake City is a really, really special place and we have an incredible music community here,” she states. “In our history, music is a really well-supported economy here, so we’re excited to be part of that and just continue with all the fabulous bands that come here.”
Over the years, Twilight has been both a place to catch well-established acts such as Wu-Tang Clan, Lauryn Hill, and Snoop Dogg as well as up-and-comers like The National, Father John Misty, and Run the Jewels. One-time Twilight opener, Thundercat, has grown into a legitimate headlighting act, which he will do on Aug. 26. This year, the band on the rise to see at the Gallivan Center is likely Provo-born group, Neon Trees, the main performers on Sept. 2.
To Beca, elevating a local band such as Neon Trees to the same stage and billing as a long-standing star like Big Boi, who has performed at the Super Bowl, is a key focus in Twilight’s mission.
“This is what the Twilight Concert Series and the work of the Salt Lake City Arts Council is all about, growing our musicians to a national stage,” Baca gushes. “There’s such an incredible music scene in Provo and so many musicians that we’ve seen the hit the national stage come out of Utah.”
However, the same pandemic that forced a complete cancellation of the series in 2020 is still lingering in 2021. Baca explains that her team is monitoring the situation in real-time and is prepared to respond on a concert-by-concert basis. Certain measures, such as mask-wearing at the indoor spots, and requirements on masks and vaccinations by crew members will be standard for all five shows.
“This is really out of respect for the touring artists. We’ve seen so many touring artists, drop tours or cancel and so it’s really important to us to respect the wishes of the artists and keep their teams safe,” Baca explains, adding that attendees are also encouraged to receive a vaccine.
In Thursday’s case, attendees are also advised that there is a continued possibility of showers in the downtown area, as there has been for most of the week. Baca explains that weather is an assumed risk at an outdoor concert, and there is a history of Twilight Concerts being enjoyed in both pouring rain and 100-degree heat.
“It’s rain or shine, occasionally there’s a delay but our forecast is looking pretty good for tonight, so we’re optimistic,” she says.
Whether the rain dumps or not on an expected crowd of 5,000, singing along with Big Boi’s “All Night,” and possibly a few Outkast hits, having Twilight Concerts back are hoped to be a boon to the local economy as well as an introduction of a major concert experience to music fans young and old.
“To see these bands at other venues, or other cities may cost 40 or $50 and so it’s really important to us to give all people accessibility,” Baca explains. “We also know that people come downtown, get food and drinks and use public transportation, so it’s kind of a win-win for everybody.”
Aug. 19: Big Boi, Strfkr, and Laserfang
Aug. 26: Thundercat, Remi Wolf, and Giraffula
Sept. 2: Neon Trees, Peach Tree Rascals, and The Rubies
Sept. 18: St. Vincent
Sept. 24: Lake Street Dive and Pixie & The Partygrass Boys