Big Stars, Bright Nights announced |

Big Stars, Bright Nights announced

As the story goes, the young soul singer Joss Stone came to Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series last year after a conversation with a fellow female chanteuse by the name of Bonnie Raitt.

"Joss was initially not going to take the date," remembers Teri Orr, the Park City Performing Arts Foundation’s executive director. "Then Bonnie Raitt gave us a good review."

And that kind of reputation is what’s been luring artists to the series for five years. Artists, it seems, will talk.

What attracts artists like Stone and last year, Smokey Robinson, to the small venue known as The Snow Park Lodge Amphitheater on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort is a vineyard-style atmosphere. "There are a lot of very successful venues in the Napa area and we’ve been told by performers that we’re more along the lines of performing in a winery," explains Orr.

Booking the seven summer acts is half the battle, according to Orr, who says in some instances, she has waited years to secure a particular musician. The other half is about logistics.

First, the concerts are at the mercy of the weather, which, in the series’ history, has yet to completely cancel a show. Second, since the stage is outside, several considerations must be made. "Deer Valley is a beautiful setting to be in and a great venue, but we have to start from scratch with sound, lights, and security – things we don’t have to worry about at the Eccles Center, a facility we’re already a part of."

Finally, unlike a stage in a California vineyard, artists who come to Park City are dealing with altitudes some may have never experienced before. At 7,000 feet above sea level, artists from the other parts of the world must acclimate. For that reason, back stage, Orr says the Performing Arts Foundation stocks oxygen tanks.

"One of my favorite stories is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who came as part of the cultural Olympiad and performed for two nights at the Eccles Center and went through four tanks of oxygen – they were from Manhattan, which couldn’t be more sea level and they were suckin’ wind back stage," recalls Orr. "We’re way high compared to places most people live and perform."

Challenges aside, July through August, audiences can plan to picnic on the lawn or recline in cloth seating for a few extra dollars to hear the likes of Canadian indie sensation Feist, who won five Juno Awards this year, the legendary rocker Boz Scaggs, and the speedy guitar riffs of the Latin American virtuosos in the The Gipsy Kings. The series schedule begins July 12 with a concert by Marc Cohn and Aimee Mann, two singer-song writing successes in their own rights and concludes August 30 with a performance by Dwight Yoakam, one of country music’s major contemporary forces.

Also special to the stage this year will be the Golden Dragon Acrobats, performing at the close of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The first non-musical act to be a part of the series the act is comprised of travelers who are experts in balancing atop 30 stacked chairs. "We’ve never presented anything but music outside," reveals Orr. "We will make a few modifications to the stage, but by their very nature, (the Golden Dragon Acrobats) will be able to adapt where they perform."

Big Stars Bright Nights lineup

The Performing Arts Foundation’s Fifth Annual Outdoor Concert Series tickets go on sale tomorrow, May 1. Tickets can be purchased at the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Center for the Performing Arts at 1750 Kearns Blvd and the Deer Valley Signatures and Etc. store at 625 Main St. Tickets will be available for purchase online beginning May 3. For details, visit or call (435) 655-3114.

July 12

Marc Cohn with Aimee Mann

Traveling from Virgina to Nevada and then California, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn will stop at Deer Valley Resort to share his country-pop tunes. Best knownfor his song, "Waling in Memphis," from his 1991 album, "Marc Cohn," his tour will continue this summer for 2007’s "Join the Parade." According to the artist’s Myspace page, this latest release is the culmination of a stormy five years which included a divorce, and incurred a 2005 attempted carjacking after a concert in Denver, Colo., where Cohn survived a gunshot to his head.

Fellow Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, an American rock guitarist, bassist and singer, will be joining Cohn at the resort after a gig in Denver. Mann’s best known for her work on the soundtrack to 1999’s "Magnolia," Mann’s new album, "@%&! Smilers Out" is slated for release June 3rd, a project that will revive the CD, with a book-bound cover and a die-cut 32-page book with illustrations by Gary Taxali.

*Lawn seating: $31

*Reserved seating: $56

July 17


Canadian-born Leslie Feist is a heavy-banged indie chick who won five Juno Awards in her native country this month for her 2007 album, "The Remainder." Influenced by the American folk tradition, as well as the rock band the Kinks, soulful songstress Etta James, and with a musical background in punk as well as opera, Feist was dubbed the "Thrift-Store Diva" by Rolling Stone magazine. She will arrive at Deer Valley after a spring tour in Europe where she plans to entertain audiences in Scotland, England, Italy, France and Spain.

*Lawn seating: $31

*Reserved seating: $56

July 28

Lucinda Williams

Grammy Award-winning country songstress Lucinda Williams will perform between two gigs at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and then the Santa Barbara Bowl in California. With studio albums spanning three decades beginning in 1979, the Louisiana-born artist earned the designation of "America’s Best Songwriter" by Time magazine in 2002. Her 2007 album, "West" was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

*Lawn seating: $31

*Reserved seating: $56

August 17

Golden Dragon Acrobats

Big Stars, Bright Nights is typically reserved for musical performances. However, this year, for the first time in its history, the outdoor series will welcome the Golden Dragon Acrobats. Returning to Park City, the acrobats’ performances presents a 25-centuries old tradition that features gravity-defying feats. In 2005, the group made its Broadway debut to a sold-out audience at the New victory Theater. This is their 29th year of continuous touring.

*Lawn seating: $23

*Reserved seating: $43

August 19

Boz Scaggs

When Boz Scaggs takes the Deer Valley stage, he will have just wrapped up performances in British Columbia and Portland, Ore. A solo performer for decades, Scaggs began his career on the guitar with Steve Miller’s band the Marksmen in 1959, and later joined the psychedelic music scene of San Francisco in 1967. He is featured on the Steve Miller Band’s first two albums, "Children of the Future," and "Sailor." In 2003, Scaggs released, "But Beautiful," a collection of jazz standards and released "The Hits" a compilation, in 2006.

*Lawn seating: $46

*Reserved seating: $76

August 26

Gipsy Kings

The Gipsy Kings is comprised of members whose parents fled from Spain during the Spanish civil war. They are Roma musicians who popularized "Rumba Catalana," a style of pop-oriented flamenco music related to Salsa and Rumba. In 1989, the band’s album, "Gipsy Kings," spent 40 weeks on the charts in the United States; in 1993, the band’s album, "Love and Liberte" won the Latin grammy Award for "Best Pop Album of the Year." In 2006, the Gipsy Kings recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios which included performances by Natasha Bedingfield and Iron Maiden, a documentary that later aired on the Sundance Channel. The band will arrive in Park City after a summer tour that includes stops in Canada, Spain, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

*Lawn seating: $46

*Reserved seating: $76

August 30

Dwight Yoakam

Before his Deer Valley performance date, traditional American country music singer, songwriter and actor Dwight Yoakam will return to the Country Music Association’s Music Festival with Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, after a 20 year’s absence from the festival. Yoakam has recorded more than 20 albums and compilations and charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. He has acted in feature films such as 1996’s "Sling Blade" and 2002’s "Panic Room." This year Yoakam was inducted into the Kentucky Music hall of Fame at a ceremony in Lexington.

*Lawn seating: $46

*Reserved seating: $76

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