House of Blues to come to Main Street during Sundance
November 12, 2010
The House of Blues brand is synonymous with an eclectic medley of live music. During the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, a pair of enterprising Parkites will bring the famous venue and a fitting musical lineup to The Star Bar on Main Street.
Bill Johnson, who lives part-time in Park City, is an original member of the International House of Blues Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes cultural understanding and creative expression through music and art.
Johnson is one-half of Pinnacle Performance Partners, the local team that is bringing the House of Blues to Park City. His associate is local concert promoter and producer Toby Martin.
"House of Blues is a major presence in the entertainment business and so is Sundance," Johnson says. "I think the combination of the two is a tremendous opportunity."
The House of Blues initiated its involvement with the Sundance Film Festival four years ago when it helped organize an all-star jam band concert at The Canyons. The outdoor show featured Tommy Lee, former Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte.
"It seemed that those two brands the House of Blues and the Sundance Film Festival was pretty magical," Martin says.
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Martin has produced numerous shows at The Star Bar, including four shows during last year’s film festival. It’s the second largest venue on Main Street and its look is very consistent with the House of Blues style, he says. "We knew we need as much space as possible and it’s a really cool, funky place."
House of Blues will bring in furniture and accessories to create an authentic atmosphere in The Star Bar. "It’ll look and feel like a House of Blues when you walk in," Johnson says.
The back room will be transformed into a Foundation Room, which is the name for the VIP area located in every House of Blues venue. The room will be open to VIP guests and sponsors and will feature flat-screen monitors displaying live video from the performance area.
According to Martin, House of Blues Park City will officially open on Wednesday, Jan. 19, and will present 11 shows through the duration of the Sundance Film Festival, which runs Jan. 20-30.
The goal is to bring first-class entertainment to Park City every night of the festival while keeping the venue open to the public. A major focus is providing a locals-friendly area for Parkites who want to experience the fest, Martin notes.
"We’re going to have some top-notch live music," Johnson says. The wide variety of musical genres will be in keeping with House of Blues all over the country. "Our goal is to make it as eclectic as possible," he adds.
The venue will host a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation with celebrity hosts and a star-studded auction on Thursday, Jan. 20. All proceeds from the event will go to the charity and the benefit will be followed by a show that’s open to the public.
Pinnacle Performance Partners has confirmed performances by Third Eye Blind on Saturday, Jan. 22; Robert Randolph on Monday, Jan. 24; The Wailers on Thursday, Jan. 27; and The Dirty Heads on Friday, Jan. 28.
More shows will be announced as they are confirmed. "The list of people that we’re in discussions with is really astounding," Martin says. "It will be something different for different audiences each and every night."
The capacity of The Star Bar is about 400 and Martin expects about 325 tickets to be available for each show. "We don’t want people jammed in there," he notes.
From Tuesday, Jan. 25, through Saturday, Jan. 29, the venue will offer a daytime music lounge from noon to 5 or 6 p.m., featuring a combination of local and national acts.
"It will really allow the local community to come and experience the House of Blues," Martin says. "We’re going to make it as close to free as possible if not free."
In addition to big-name performers, Martin says he and Johnson hope to book acts that are relevant to the festival. Martin brought Joan Jett to Harry O’s last year in conjunction with the premiere of "The Runaways" and hopes to schedule a similar event.
"It’s not just a music venue that happens to be there since Sundance is going on," he says.
Tickets for concerts and events at the House of Blues Park City will be available online by mid-December, Martin said. For more information, visit http://www.houseofbluesparkcity.com.