Park City Song Summit that is scheduled for Sept. 7-10 is more than music performances
Participants include Jason Isbell and Rising Appalachia
The Park City Song Summit is not a music festival, said founder, producer and organizer Ben Anderson.
“The F word around here is the word ‘festival,’” Anderson said about the event scheduled for Sept. 7-10. “The reason why we don’t have the word in our name is because, arguably, we don’t need another music festival. We love them. Many of our artists play them, and we think there is a place for them. But we’re in a different lane. We are an immersive hangout for song lovers. And our format is based around the chance to explore and celebrate the myth, the power and the passion behind song and songcraft.”
Before the internet, music fans who wanted to learn more about the songs and artists they love had to find other outlets for that information, according to Anderson.
“We would open up the vinyl, read the liner notes and maybe grab a Rolling Stone or Billboard magazine and do anything we could to get our hands on things that would tell us about who these artists were,” he said. “While we do have things like this accessible now through the internet, we don’t often get to sit in a room to hear our favorite artist or a new and upcoming artist talk about their creative journey.”
Sometimes the creative journey means addressing topics as diverse as mental health, trauma or being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Anderson said.
“We are bringing a group of musicians, songwriters, thought-leaders and musical pioneers into a room for labs — moderated discussions and live podcasts – to talk about the things that are meaningful to them whether it’s COVID, addiction recovery, suicide prevention, songwriting and making it in the industry,” he said. “Those types of things are important to me as a person who is in recovery, myself.”
Labs will run Sept. 8-10 from noon to 5:30 p.m. in three tents set up outdoors at the Lodges at Deer Valley, Anderson said.
Lab participants will include comedian and actor Fred Armisen and singer-songwriter Andrew Bird, who will do a Great Room podcast.
“We will set up a Great Room at the Lodges, and they will talk about cool and vibey things that only Fred and Andrew can do,” Anderson said.
Award-winning singer Jason Isbell will host a John Prine lab, where he will talk about the work of the late folk singer-songwriter.
“Jason will talk about John’s social-justice songs that go back to the 1960s,” Anderson said.
Other lab participants will include Dopey Dave and his Dopey podcast, Joe Pug with the Working Songwriter podcast, Jay Blakesberg, known for his photographs of the Grateful Dead photographer, and Grammy-winning guitarist Cedric Burnside.
“We’ll have labs by established artists like Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule and amazing new artists like singer Devon Gilfillian,” Anderson said. “The idea for the Park City Song Summit is to put the speaker series first and music performances second. “
Each lab tent will hold between 100 and 150 people, he said.
“People will be able to laugh, cry and hear from these artists,” he said. “So, we will be more than music in that regard. Our goal is to make sure we’re a megaphone and a source of inspiration for people who are challenged by issues that also include social justice and inclusivity.”
After the labs, Anderson says Main Street will be the place for Song Summit attendees to take in early and late-night performances by participating artists.
Those artists include Celisse, Rising Appalachia, Gov’t Mule, Father John Misty, Bonny Light Horseman, Josh Ritter, Tré Burt, Katie Pruitt and Anders Osborne and Friends that include a stable of New Orleans-based artists such as multi-instrumentalist Ivan Neville, drummer Chad Cromwell and percussionist Mike Dillon, he said.
“I will also join my friend Anders on stage to play a little bass guitar,” Anderson said.
Other late-night performers include Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite and Daniel Donato, he said.
“These are just a few artists,” Anderson said. “We will announce more later.”
In addition to these sets, the Park City Song Summit will include its trademark Songwriters in the Round sessions, which will consist of Songwriter Hall of Fame inductees and up-and-coming artists taking turns playing tunes and telling stories about these songs, according to Anderson.
“We love giving a stage and microphone to the artists, and I think one of the coolest things you may see are new collaborations with artists who run into each other in the labs or seeing each other in the green rooms or meeting backstage at shows,” he said.
The Park City Song Summit will officially kick off with a private event on Sept. 7 at the Blue Sky Ranch, Anderson said.
“That will feature a four-course, sit-down meal and a performance by Jason Isbell and Adia Victoria,” he said. “During this event, people will hear about the charities we support and where our heart and soul is.”
Those local community charitable partners include Communities that Care, Jewish Family Service, Summit County Clubhouse and Mountain Town Music’s Michael Richards Memorial Fund, Anderson said.
“The Park City Community Foundation has been so instrumental in identifying organizations that fall in our DNA, and we’ve been grateful to them for working with us,” he said.
Anyone who wants to purchase that pass can sign up now at the website, parkcitysongsummit.com for the summit’s official newsletter, Anderson said.
“Tickets for individual shows along Main Street will be announced later and sell as low as $50, depending on where you want to sit and who you want to see,” he said.
While the Park City Song Summit will give music lovers a chance to get up-close and personal with their favorite artists, it will also give artists a chance to take a break from their touring schedule, Anderson said.
“They will have the opportunity to go on guided hikes, go fishing or golfing, before the labs,” he said. “We want these artists to be in residence in Park City.”
Another driving force for presenting the Park City Song Summit is to help save lives, Anderson said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for this community to come out and address important issues that can be life changing for young people and adults, alike,” he said. “I don’t want to lose any more people to mental health challenges and addiction. We’ve already lost a long list of people including drummer Taylor Hawkins, mandolinist Jeff Austin and guitarist/singer Neal Casal. So many people need help, and oftentimes they are not getting it. And while we can’t be the cure-all, we can make a difference in our own little way.”
The Park City Song Summit means the world to Anderson, who openly acknowledges his own journey of addiction recovery.
“At this point in my life, I’m playing the back 9 and I’m approaching 60,” he said with his voice full of emotion. “I know how close I came to not being on this planet anymore. So when I see people who are hurting or see posts from people who are being affected by the divisiveness of the world and see people dying because of the challenges that I had, I think I can use the successes I’ve been so grateful and blessed to have in my journey to sobriety to help. Maybe someone may not take their life because of something they heard at this event. If that happens, then this bald-headed hillbilly has given something back to this world.”
Debate is a great way for students to learn communication skills.
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