Deer Valley pulls plug on summer concerts until 2021
Deer Valley Resort, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, The State Room Presents and Mountain Town Music have decided to unplug the amps this summer.
A joint press release the groups issued Wednesday announced this year’s summer concerts at the Snow Park Amphitheater have been canceled.
“Due to the recent order issued by the Summit County Council, Manager and Board of Health around mass gatherings and events, as well as concern for the overall health and safety of our community, Deer Valley and their promoter partners have collectively made the difficult decision to postpone any scheduled shows until summer 2021,” read the release.
“Although it was a difficult decision to not offer any of the highly anticipated annual concerts, we all agree that pausing these events this year is in the best interest of the health and safety of our community, our guests and our staff members,” said Deer Valley President and COO Todd Shallan in the press release. “We appreciate the support of our three concert series partners and the understanding of our guests during this challenging time. We very much look forward to a summer full of music and celebration on the mountain next year.”
The cancellation of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s annual Deer Valley Music Festival, which started in 2003, will cost the orchestra nearly $2 million, said Patricia A. Richards, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera interim president and CEO, in an interview with The Park Record.
“Our revenues in ticket sales last year reached $1.8 million because the festival has become so popular with our patrons,” Richards said. “It’s an important part of our year, as well as Deer Valley’s and Park City’s economy. It’s going to be missed for sure.”
The numbers also reflect the loss of ticket sales for the Deer Valley Music Festival’s chamber concerts at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, according to Richards.
“Those are one of my favorite experiences, but, again, it wouldn’t be possible to gather for these concerts,” she said.
Even if the Deer Valley Music Festival wasn’t canceled, the Utah Symphony musicians themselves, with each performance, would violate Gov. Gary Herbert’s Utah Leads Together COVID-19 guidelines, which currently limits gatherings to 20 people, according to Richards.
“Depending on the concert, the Utah Symphony often requires more than 60 musicians to be on stage in close proximity at one time,” she said. “So even without an audience we couldn’t perform legally.”
Mountain Town Music, the Park City-based nonprofit that schedules free community concerts every Wednesday at Deer Valley, will also take a large hit, said Brian Richards, community conductor of musical matters, to the Park Record.
“We are going to lose about $150,000 this summer,” said Richards, who is not related to the Utah Symphony’s interim CEO.
That total reflects Mountain Town Music’s entire season, which usually comprises more than 300 free concerts in Summit County.
“We will continue to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis, paying close attention to county guidelines,” Richards said. “We support our fellow arts and cultural organizations as they are forced to make difficult decisions that are in the best interest of their long-term survival and of the overall safety of our community as a whole.”
Chris Mautz, co-owner of The State Room Presents, which began the Deer Valley Concert Series in 2018, didn’t return email inquiries from the Park Record, but did release the following statement in the Deer Valley press release.
“Thank you to everyone that attended shows during our first two summers with the Deer Valley Concert Series and thank you for your continued support as we put the series on pause for 2020,” said Mautz, who has brought such artists as Jason Mraz, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Lukas Nelson to the resort. “We truly believe that taking the year off to protect our community is the right thing to do, and we will be back with more mountainside celebrations in the future.”
Patricia A. Richards said she doesn’t want Deer Valley Music Festival patrons to think of the 2020 summer season, which would have included performances by Ben Folds, the Beach Boys and Kool & the Gang, as being canceled, instead being postponed.
“What we’re doing is postponing the season to 2021,” she said. “We’re in the process of contacting and scheduling those artists now, and many have agreed to reschedule for next summer, when many safety precautions will be in effect. I believe the situation will have changed enough that we’ll be able to present a festival next year.”
Brian Richards said the Park City and Summit County music lovers will face the lack of Deer Valley concerts with determination and unity.
“Once the arts and cultural community has a better understanding of the parameters we can operate under you will see some amazingly creative ideas come out of this,” he said.
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