Park City lays down the rules during Sundance as first in-person fest since 2020 nears

The load-in along Main Street for the Sundance Film Festival, shown in 2017, usually takes several days. City Hall has published a Rules of the Road document outlining important processes for those planning to conduct business in Park City during the festival. Sundance is scheduled to return as an in-person event after two consecutive online-only festivals during the coronavirus pandemic. | Park Record file photo

The Sundance Film Festival is poised to return to its starring role in Park City in January after two years of canceling the in-person event out of concern for the coronavirus pandemic.

Park City officials want those who plan to conduct business in the city during the festival to understand there are rules they must abide by, even during a period when it may seem that there are few restrictions on corporate interests, film promoters and others who arrive for the festival.

City Hall has published the Rules of the Road document as Sundance nears and at a time when the various parties intending to conduct business in Park City during the festival are likely finalizing their plans.

The Rules of the Road is written primarily for people who want to conduct business in Park City rather than for a general audience. The contents, though, are notable with Sundance being such a large event. The municipal government usually publishes another guide that centers on topics important to Parkites who must navigate around the festival hubbub as part of their everyday lives.

Sundance is scheduled from Jan. 19 until Jan. 29 with plans to hold the first in-person festival since 2020. An online component is also planned.

The festival in the pre-pandemic era was the busiest time of the year in Park City, with the opening weekend especially drawing large crowds. It is not clear what sort of crowds are expected in 2023 after two years of online festivals, the continuing spread of the coronavirus and jitters about the economy.

There were typically numerous corporate interests arriving in Park City temporarily during Sundance, drawn by the heavy celebrity and media presence in the community for the festival. Some had official ties to Sundance, but many others were not affiliated with the festival itself and instead saw Park City as an opportunity to generate publicity. Much of the activity was on Main Street, where buildings are leased by the corporate interests and then transformed into product showcases, lounges, gifting suites and entertainment venues. It is not yet known whether the corporate interests will return to Park City in the same numbers as the pre-pandemic years, but it is nearly certain there will be some sort of presence.

The Rules of the Road published by City Hall is designed to “serve as a guide for the permit processes, and frequently asked questions regarding regulations” during Sundance, the introduction says. It lists contact information for some of the key City Hall departments as well as those in Summit County, Wasatch County and at the state level. The document also provides a calendar with deadlines for license and permit applications.

According to the calendar, the load-in for Sundance is slated to begin on Jan. 17, two days before the festival opening. The load-out starts Jan. 24, which is at the midway point of the festival. The Jan. 24 date accommodates the corporate interests that want to limit their presence to the rollicking opening days of Sundance.

The scene on Main Street in the days before Sundance, as the load-in is underway, can be frenetic. The year-round stores and restaurants that are rented for Sundance oftentimes remove many of the furnishings just before the corporate interests arrive with their own setups. The corporate setups can be elaborate, with moving and construction crews arriving up and down the street.

The Rules of the Road also provides step-by-step instructions through City Hall processes, such as those required for convention sales licenses, temporary beverage licenses, building permits and temporary sign permits.

The Rules of the Road document is available on the City Hall website, The direct link is:


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