New Park City music space on Bonanza Drive gives songwriters a home
What: MUSE PC songwriters critique session
When: 7 p.m. every Wednesday
Where: 1685 Bonanza Drive, Suite 100
Local singers and songwriters have a new home — for the time being.
After months of negotiations with Park City, Musician Songwriter Exchange Park City (MUSE PC) received the keys to the former Switchback Sports space located in Suite 100 at 1685 Bonanza Drive.
The exchange can use the space until the building is demolished next year to make way for the construction of the city’s planned arts and culture district, and MUSE PC facilitator Jody Whitesides is both happy and relieved.
“My goal was to have a place for the local songwriters in Park City and the surrounding areas to have a good place to gather in and get better at their craft,” said Whitesides, who has already led some Wednesday-night songwriting critique sessions.
The first one, held Sept. 18, attracted 15 people, he said.
“There were musicians from Provo and Salt Lake who joined with the group from Park City,” he said. “It was nice, because there was no rush to get through it, because the space is open as late as I can stay.”
Habitat for Humanity’s Restore granted MUSE PC a loveseat and couch to help make the critique sessions more comfortable, Whitesides said.
“We also have a bunch of fold-out chairs we bring out for the others who show up,” he said.
MUSE PC had been working for nearly a year to secure the Bonanza Drive space, according to Whitesides.
His first walk-through with Nate Rockwood, City Hall’s director of redevelopment and capital management, was in September 2018.
“Nate really did a lot of work for us as well,” Whitesides said. ”It took a lot of back and forth to figure out what we wanted to do.”
The critique sessions start at 7 p.m. every Wednesday, and it’s open to any level of songwriter.
“We decided to do the feedback night weekly, so there was some consistency, and more incentive to write songs,” Whitesides said. “My thought was if we did it monthly, it will actually be two months before you can get back to it if you miss a session.”
In the near future, Whitesides wants to add a weekly Sunday night song share session, and an additional open-mic performance workshop.
“During the song share, people can just come in and play their songs,” he said. “And during the open-mic, people can play their songs and work on their presentation.”
Whitesides said there are plans to build a small stage and set up a public address system in the space for these two sessions.
“I’m hoping to get that approved in the next couple of weeks with the city, and the thing that we need to let people know is that we’re not allowed to have loud bands,” he said.
Whitesides also said he doesn’t plan to soundproof the space, and there are two reasons why.
“We opted to host our sessions at the time of day where the businesses up stairs are not here,” he said.
During the time between the building’s demolition and completion of the arts and culture district, MUSE PC will seek a temporary home, according to Whitesides.
“As of right now, the new arts district does have plans for a music building,” he said. “And that’s pretty much all I can say about that.”
In the meanwhile, Whitesides hopes local singers and songwriters will take advantage of the Wednesday critique sessions.
“Anyone can come in when it’s going on, and we have the space to expand the circle,” he said. “We want to raise awareness of the musical talent in the area, and the more people, the merrier.”
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