Park City Chamber/Bureau sets inaugural Thin Air Festival |

Park City Chamber/Bureau sets inaugural Thin Air Festival

Another festival is coming to Park City.

The Park City Chamber/Bureau this week announced the inaugural Thin Air Innovation Festival, created in hopes of enticing businesses from around the country to congregate in Park City for meetings this spring. Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Chamber/Bureau, said the festival, which is scheduled for April 6 through April 8, is a chance to bring visitors to town during a time that is traditionally slow for the tourism industry.

"Ultimately, the goal is to take this kind of limp-to-the-finish-line period that we have in the ski business and make it a reason why people would come here," he said. "We want to end the ski season on a stronger note.

"We looked at a lot of different options — we looked at international efforts, simply just investing more in television campaigns, everything," he added. "But what we came up with was an idea to create an event that connects to the burgeoning technology infrastructure that’s in the state and that’s happening in Park City."

The premise of the festival is simple. Businesses can come to town during the festival to hold meetings or corporate retreats. But in addition to simply having their individual gatherings, they can participate in the festival’s activities. The event is set to offer: a keynote speech from Kevin Plank, the CEO and founder of Under Armour; breakfast events with moderated panels featuring local business leaders and experts in a wide range of innovative fields; a lounge that will have entertainment and networking opportunities; and a performance from the popular band Thievery Corporation.

"Our events with the Thin Air Festival would create added value for them to come here," Malone said. "We sell them value they wouldn’t be able to have on their own for the size of meetings that they have."

The festival is already gaining traction. Fortune magazine, one of the most influential business publications in America, is set to serve as a media partner for the event, covering the festival and spreading word throughout the country. Malone said there is an opportunity for the festival to strike quick success.

"I think that it’ll take some time to build the event from an attendance standpoint, but the coverage of it will look good to people," he said. "And hopefully, if we can get out of the box quickly for 2017 — get our keynote speaker, who’s playing the concert and those types of things — then we can have more advance notice to get that out and have people know about it and book their meetings here."

Park City companies are equally enthusiastic, Malone said. The festival will hopefully allow many local businesses to finish the ski season with a flourish.

"People have been very supportive of it," he said. "It really is coming at a time where everyone goes, ‘My restaurant has a lot of capacity that’s not used at that time,’ or, ‘My lodging is empty.’ This will hopefully raise the tide for everyone."

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