Mountain Town Music celebrates spring with Canyons concerts
The warm weather is nice, but it really isn’t spring in Park City until Mountain Town Music kicks off its free après Spring Concert Series at Canyons.
This year, the performances will kick off at the village stage with the funk beats of Cure for the Common on Saturday, Feb. 21, and Mountain Town Music’s Brian Richards, community conductor of musical affairs, is ready to get his groove on.
"We look forward to present these concerts every year because it gives visitors and the people in the community this awesome opportunity to see great bands play some great music," Richards told The Park Record. "Park City residents and visitors to the Canyons have come to expect a world class live music experience. I strive to book bands that meet their standard.
"The litmus test for a quality band is whether or not they make the crowd want to move." Richards said. "If the people are moving and grooving I know we hit the target."
Canyons is committed to bringing in awesome live bands all year around and every season, Mountain Town Music tries to ramp up the series with new and exciting artists.
"Our goal is to bring in cool bands that people maybe have never had a chance to see," Richards explained. "I enjoy choosing these bands to play."
The weekend following Cure for the Common, the series will continue with the eclectic beats of Twiddle and then launch into the Spring Grüv concert series on March 20. (See below for the schedule)
Richards finds these artists through their submissions, and also through his own research.
"It’s a very organic process," he said. "People are constantly submitting applications via our website or shooting me emails and I’ll also set aside some bands that I’ve heard.
"The thing about après stuff is that you want to have some fun music that will make people feel good and that people will dance to," Richards said. "It’s all about creating a fun and festival après atmosphere."
The goal is to attract people who have been skiing and snowboarding on the mountain all day long.
"If I’m listening to one of these bands, I want to be smiling and bobbing my head," Richards explained. "If I’m doing that, I know people will want to groove on the music when they see these bands live. You want to have people hear all of this infectious music that makes them want to hang out, drink a beer or spend time with their families."
Most of the concerts will start at 3 p.m., even the Spring Grüv performances, according to Richards.
"The Spring Grüv shows will feature an opening band starting at 3 p.m., but the headliners will run from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30-ish," he said.
This year, the music for the Spring Grüv, which will run from March 20 through March 29, will be featured on different days.
"Past Spring Grüvs have featured concerts on Saturday and Sunday, but the Sunday shows weren’t as well-attended as we had hoped, so we will present shows on Friday," Richards said. "The Spring Grüv series will kick off on March 30 with Keller Williams and see how that goes."
Another Spring Grüv concert Richards is looking forward to is Nahko & the Medicine for the People, who will perform on March 21.
"We originally had one of my favorite bands, the Drive- Truckers, scheduled for that date, but they ended up with an opportunity to do an arena tour with Eric Church, which is big for them," Richards said. "We were lucky to get Nahko, who was going to be in the area during that time.
"Nahko actually played last summer and I don’t necessarily like to schedule a band two years in a row, but Nahko blew me away when I first saw him," Richards said. "He blew me away. He is super-positive and is an artist who I feel is speaking the truth about love and bringing people together for the common good through his music. I would love people to come see him. His spirit is unbelievable."
The mix of styles shows Richards’ search for new, exciting music.
"I don’t set out to put a certain type of band out there," he said. "I want a mix. If you look at this year, you will see a funk band, a jam band and a reggae band.
"The lineup is diverse and there is something for everyone and we want to appeal to everybody," Richards said. "They might not listen to a certain type of music all the time, but when they hear these bands, they’ll feel good and want to hear them."
For years, Mountain Town Music has presented spring concerts at Canyons, but that doesn’t mean Richards feels any pressure to up the series’ musical ante.
"There is no pressure. It’s what I do," he said. "I love this community. I love being in the mountains and love providing the community with this awesome music. There is good music out there. It will always be around.
"Every day I wake up, pinch myself and consider myself lucky that I can listen to these bands and eventually get them up on stage," Richards said. "It’s not only presenting these bands, but dealing with the musicians and providing them with an opportunity to showcase their music to different people."
Spring Concerts scheduled at Canyons
21 — Cure for the Common
28 — Twiddle
7 — Ryan Hiller Band
14 — Tribal Theory
20 — Spring Grüv: Keller Williams
21 — Spirng Grüv: Nahko & Medicine for the People
28 — Spring Grüv: The Motet
4 –Dirty Revival
For more information, visit http://www.mountaintownmusic.org.
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