Mountain Town Music presents a new Summer of Love
June 13, 2014
This year will be another Summer of Love, said Brian Richards, Community Conductor of Musical Affairs for Mountain Town Music, a nonprofit organization that presents free concerts in venues located throughout Park City and Summit County.
"We love music," Richards said during an interview with The Park Record. "We love our community. We love the beautiful settings that we enjoy the music in. We love the people whom we share these musical moments with."
Mountain Town Music’s concert season will kick off Saturday at 6 p.m. with Fishbone, the legendary Los Angeles-based ska, funk, punk and rock-fusion band, during Canyons Resort’s summer-opening celebration.
"Canyons wanted something a little edgy, but nothing that will turn away the older demographic," Richards explained. "Fishbone works because there are a lot of people who grew up listening to them, myself included, and yet the younger generation can vibe to them as well. So it’s a great way to start the summer."
In addition to Canyons, Mountain Town Music presents concerts at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater, Newpark Town Center, Coalville, Peoa, Park Silly Sunday Market and Miners Park on Main Street.
"The cool thing about all of our stages is that they are all unique and have their own flavor," Richards said.
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Last year, Mountain Town started a series at the outdoor amphitheater at Billy Blanco’s restaurant, located at Quarry Village at Pinebrook.
"This was a great opportunity for us to kickstart the music scene out there, because of Mountain Town Music’s history with that venue," Richards said.
Before Mountain Town Music was established, it was known as Mountain Town Stages and was directed by Randy Barton, who is now the Egyptian Theatre manager.
"Randy helped build that stage out in Pinebrook and it was one of his babies," Richards said. "He programmed the initial concerts."
Throughout the years, the stage was run by Park City Concerts and afterwards fell into disuse until Bill White of Bill White Enterprises opened a new restaurant last year called Billy Blanco’s.
"Bill had a vision for the restaurant and what he was going for with the cars and motorcycles – he wanted a family friendly joint with some edge," Richards said. "He also understood the importance of live music and the draw that it has, especially with the Pinebrook/Jeremy Ranch community."
Of the things White wanted was a Sunday concert series and the first concerts at Billy Blanco’s kicked off last year.
"It came about quite quickly, and was a great season, but this year we wanted to rev the series up, so to speak, and select bands who play music that really fits the restaurant, [including] cool rock ‘n’ roll bands and artists that will blow the roof off the joint," Richards said. "We had more time to think about what type of music will fit and complement Billy Blanco’s vibe."
Mountain Town Music has booked regional and national touring artists as well as local bands, but the idea was to present artists that the community isn’t used to seeing.
"The series starts off with Jeff Crosby from Idaho and features acts ranging from Park City staples Muddpuddle to local guitar slinger Jake Johnson and to top things off, one of the bands that will play is Zongo Junction on July 27.
"They are a 10-piece Afro beat band from Brooklyn, New York," Richards said. "The stage isn’t even big enough to fit them all, so there will be three or four of the band members on the stage and the rest will play in front of the stage – it’s going to be bonkers!"
Richards likes the venue because it’s located just over Parley’s Summit.
"It’s in a convenient location because there are tons of people who live in the Jeremy Ranch/Pinebrook area, plus people can drive up from Salt Lake," he said. "It’s super easy for people to catch some rock ‘n’ roll and get some good eats."
The audience doesn’t have to be limited to these areas, he said
"We encourage people from all over Summit County, Heber, Coalville, Oakley to come check out the bands we have playing there this summer," Richards said. "There is so much potential out there, the amphitheater is cool and there is a niche out in the neighborhood to be served. Plus, the restaurant pipes in the live music, so people who are dining inside can hear the bands too."
While Billy Blanco’s is a highlight venue for Mountain Town Music, Richards doesn’t have a favorite place to see concerts.
"If you put high-quality music on a stage, there will be an audience," he said. "We have done this for a while and take great pride in providing a ridiculously cool musical experience no matter where the stage is. People know the bands they go to see are going to be sweet whether they know the name or not."
Some of Richards don’t miss picks for the summer are Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds and Jabuki at Newpark, Headshine and Danny Black at Miners Park, Gleewood at Peoa, The Slide Brothers and Trigger Hippy (a jam-band super group featuring Jackie Greene, Joan Osborne and Steve Gorman) at Canyons and The Dirty Bourbon River Show at Park Silly Sunday Market.
Then there is the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert series at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater on Wednesdays, beginning on June 18.
"This is a series that has grown every year," Richards said. "This series is something that the community has taken ownership of, and we continue to let the public vote on what bands they want to see."
Out of the 11 bands playing this year, seven of them will make their Snow Park debut.
"That’s awesome, because, considering that they are all local bands, to give them the opportunity to play the same stage that Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan has performed on is a pretty cool," Richards said.
Booking all the bands for all the stages can be a daunting task, but Richards said he just lets it all flow.
"It’s a very organic process, and I love listening to new bands," he said. "When I get an email from someone I’ve never heard, I can’t wait to hear what they sound like.
"This is all a labor of love, and when you love what you do and you know the end game will affect the community in such a positive and groovy way, it doesn’t seem so daunting," Richards said. "We’re almost there. In a week, we’ll all be out soaking up the sun in the beautiful mountains seeing kids hula-hooping and others dancing or sitting on a blanket enjoying the music. This year, 2014, by far, is the best lineup that we have put together."
For more information, visit http://www.mountaintownmusic.org .
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