Park City Council approves Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series dates
May 18, 2018
Park City Institute's St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concerts series lives.
The Park City Council gave the nonprofit approval to present eight summer concerts at Quinn's Field and one concert on July 13 at North City Park. It was a 4-1 vote, with Becca Gerber dissenting.
Park City Institute Executive Director Teri Orr, who has been working with the city to find a new venue after Deer Valley Resort — the series' longtime home — informed the organization last winter that the Snow Park Amphitheater would no longer be available, felt a wave of relief after the Council's vote.
"It's been so hard during the past few months because we had no fall-back position in terms of a venue," Orr said Friday morning.
Orr and her staff began talking with Park City about potential venues in mid-December.
"We had been working with the city on lots of venues, and we wanted to stay within the city limits for many reasons," Orr said.
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One of those reasons is transportation, said Jenny Diersen, City Hall's special events and economic development program manager.
"This is an event where we have opportunities to try new things at some of these venues, in particular Quinn's, in regards to transit and transportation," Diersen said.
Before Thursday's vote, Councilman Tim Henney said concertgoers' use of public transit was a key that would make presenting the concerts in these new venues work.
"It can fail if we all stick to our entitled behaviors, or it can succeed if we rise to the occasion," Henney said. "I have tremendous faith in this community that, when called upon, they'll rise to the occasion."
Traffic was the reason why Gerber, who supported the overall idea of relocating the Big Stars, Bright Nights series to Quinn's Field, cast her dissenting vote.
Gerber expressed concerns about traffic and transportation surrounding the July 3 concert with Los Lonely Boys, because of another concert scheduled at Canyons the same night. Traffic could potentially impact S.R. 224 and S.R 248, the two main arteries into town.
The Councilwoman also stated her concern about the impact of parking and transportation in the Old Town residential community during the July 13 Grace Potter concert at City Park.
City Park became a venue of interest after Park City Institute was notified of a prior event scheduled that day for Quinn's Field.
"We explored different places and City Park, where the ball fields are and where the Women's Rally took place, became interesting to us," Orr said.
While trying to find a venue, Orr was approached by some supporters who asked if the Institute could skip this summer's concerts.
"That wasn't an option for our very small nonprofit," Orr said. "The money generated from these concerts make up half of the annual budget, and not doing a summer series would have killed us."
Diersen, who said the City will work with the Park City Institute on logistics and operations plans for the upcoming concerts, said the nonprofit is an important organization to the community.
"Ninety-five percent of the events we permit are hosted by our local nonprofit organizations, and we try to help them do what they do so they can continue to serve our community," she said.
Although City Council approved the concerts, Orr knows the hard work is really just starting.
"As it is, it will be tricky, because everything we have to create nine separate times will be expensive," she said. "Everything from creating the stages to creating the ambiance at the venues as well as providing food and beverages and getting the talents into invented green rooms and production spaces are things that we really haven't been involved with before."
If City Council had not approved the Quinn's Field and City Park concerts, one of the remaining options for Orr would have been presenting indoor concerts at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
"The venue is available to us, but it only has 1,200 seats, not the 2,500 that we are used to for the summer," she said. "That wouldn't have penciled out financially. While it's a beautiful venue, there isn't any place to dance like we can outdoors. Plus there is no way to take a can opener to the roof so we can see the sky, and adult beverages aren't allowed in the Eccles Center."
Bubba Brown contributed to this article.