Music spills outside
Prior to 2000, Randy Barton struggled to find a venue in Park City that could provide free music for the public.
Seven years later, Mountain Town Stages, a non-profit that he establishes, will provide 107 shows in seven weeks, starting with Sunday’s summer kick-off Father’s Day performance at The Canyons. Ides of Soul will perform from 5-7 p.m.
"We had done some outdoor music but the city had no place for it," Barton said. "In 2000 I headed up a task force and it expanded to what we have today."
Barton is the founder of the non-profit group and this will be his final year as its president. His last year will end in a flurry, as they will produce more shows than in the past. New this year will be the Sunday night concerts and a venue at Quarry Village.
Mountain Town Stages (MTS) relies heavily on donations to keep up their quality of music. Barton and his staff are dedicated to providing quality music for the "listener."
"We are proud of what we do. We don’t want our events to come off as substandard or amateur, we want them to be equal to anything else out there," said Ted Keane, of the Mountain Town Stages staff.
Most of the money they receive through donations, government programs, taxes and neighboring businesses goes toward the sound systems, sound engineers, musicians, chairs, umbrellas, booths and other items for the pleasure of the spectators.
"Everything is for the enjoyment of the audience; the shade, the beverages, it’s not just people standing 50 feet away from the musicians, it’s all-encompassing music that we foster," Barton said. "We want to create a world-class environment where music can grow, and so quality musicians will want to come play. We built stages to create energy. Our sound is more of a listening atmosphere and the stages create a venue that promotes that."
The area around Park City, according to Barton, is the ultimate place for summer concerts.
"The climate is such that is perfect for a great concert; you can’t do this in the South where you are sweating the whole time. It’s cool and it hardly ever rains. It’s a setting that you can’t find anywhere else," Barton said.
Every night except Mondays and Wednesdays will have a show in Park City this summer. On Saturdays MTS will produce six shows. The people on the MTS staff work more than 40 hours a week during the summer to host these concerts, without making a dime, according to Barton. It’s a passion for them to bring free, professional music to the residents of Park City. Each individual on staff holds down a full-time job outside of MTS.
MTS will hire well-known bands, but will also give up-and-coming musicians a chance to stand on a big stage.
"We will give local bands opportunities they wouldn’t get otherwise. For a couple bands, it’s their first time on stage, but we’ll also have big bands too," Barton said.
MTS will hold their first fundraiser of the year next Saturday, June 24 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Elks Club located at 550 Main Street. The event is the "Shake Your Groove Thang" disco party, featuring the band, "The Right Amount," which is originally from California, now based in Salt Lake. They are a disco, and 80s dance band. The cost will be $15 online and at Orion’s Music or $17 at the door. Tickets purchased online will be held in will call at the Elks Lodge. There will be prizes for best costumes and dancers. All proceeds will benefit Mountain Town Stages. Visit http://www.mountaintownstages.com for additional information.
MTS is always looking for vulonteers to work at its venues. If you are interested in volunteering at the party, or the concerts, call (435) 602-9665 or e-mail dana@mountaintownstages. Picnics and coolers can be brought to the Canyons, Quarry Village and Peoa, they are not allowed at the three stages in Park City.
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Tourism revenue increased month over month this summer, the Park City Chamber/Bureau reported, but lodging numbers are still off 22% for December. Officials reported a recent uptick in bookings, though, pointing to a modicum of certainty after ski resorts announced their COVID-related opening policies.