Sundance: movies, music, mayhem, money, all on Main Street |

Sundance: movies, music, mayhem, money, all on Main Street

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

At one moment, it might be the paparazzi that catch the eye on Main Street, flashbulbs popping as the photographers come across a movie star.

Nearby it could be a street musician or the smell of coffee that might be the attraction.

Main Street basked under sunny skies during the first five days of the Sundance Film Festival, drawing crowds from early in the morning to the late-night hours. Monday afternoon, though not jammed as it was at some points over the weekend, Main Street remained the hotspot for festival revelry.

Late in the afternoon, a New Orleans-style musical parade was the attraction. The Park City Police Department provided an escort as the band, including horn players and people with tambourines, paraded up a section of Main Street.

Some in the crowd carried small umbrellas as they danced up the street. One of the men in the procession wore a pink boa, matching his pink outfit. The group stopped momentarily outside the Egyptian Theatre, a Sundance screening room, and performed "You Are My Sunshine." They also stopped outside Cisero’s, slightly uphill from the Egyptian Theatre. Mayor Dana Williams walked with the group.

Another musician was on Main Street at about the same time. Corbin Baldwin, a piano player who lives in South Salt Lake, was performing on an upright grand, the second day during Sundance he had played on Main Street. He and a friend share duties on the piano, which is attached to a bicycle so they are able to move more quickly to another spot. They play up to 12 hours each day during Sundance.

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Baldwin was playing pieces by some of the giants of classical music, including Ludwig van Beethoven and Frederic Chopin. He said each of the piano players had collected upward of $100 during Sundance.

"So far, maybe a little busier than average, it seems," Baldwin said.

Main Street by the weekend had been partly remade as corporate interests moved into rented spaces along the street. The rental market on the street was said to be solid as the festival approached. The Veggie Burger Bar, put on by MorningStar Farms, occupied the Eating Establishment’s space. A McDonald’s McCafe, serving hot drinks, had space in the Memorial Building. Twenty or so people were inside sipping free coffees, hot chocolates and espressos at a little before 4 p.m. on Monday.

Velvet ropes or other line markers were placed on the sidewalk outside some of the places that appeared to be popular. Barriers were placed into the street to keep pedestrians safe as they navigated through the crowds.

The opening weekend is typically the busiest, and Main Street seemed quieter by the middle of the evening on Monday compared to the weekend. It appeared some of the temporary setups were being dismantled on Monday, six days before Sundance closes.

Slamdance, another film festival in Park City, kept the Treasure Mountain Inn busy as people made it to the top of Main Street for screenings and other activities.

The boards put up by City Hall where movie posters, handbills and other publicity materials are supposed to be put had been covered with several layers by Monday afternoon. Not all of them behaved, though. A ski mask at one point had been put over the head of the miner statue in Miners Park. The lime-colored mask resembled those worn by a punk band featured in a Sundance documentary.

Business appeared to be mixed along Main Street through Monday. Restaurants seemed to enjoy solid lines, but retail sales depended on the store.

At Aloha Ski & Snowboard, Sundance was not a boon. Zach Andrada, a ski technician, said ski rentals drop sharply during Sundance even as he said Sundance brings good publicity to Park City.

"People come to Sundance for Sundance, not to ski," he said, adding that people had been stopping in asking questions about buses or to warm themselves up.

Prospect, a store that sells clothes, shoes and accessories, stays open until 11 p.m. during Sundance, two hours past its usual closing time. The owner, Casey Crawford, said jewelry, sunglasses, hats and shoes were strong sellers during the opening days of Sundance. She said sales between Friday and Monday were double than they normally would be on a typical Friday through Monday. The numbers were similar to Sundance 2012, Crawford said.

"It’s fun. We like Sundance," she said.