While the parties might be private some places are still open
A 10 p.m. walk down Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival can be a discouraging experience. With corporate renters occupying nearly every corner of the street and half of the other taken up by movie industry events, a place at a bar can become a startlingly rare commodity.
But several establishments will buck that trend, earning their money by attracting patrons instead of renters. Almost all of those places share a common refrain. They want to offer an event for the people.
"It’s something that we’re really proud of," said Tara Cinelli, owner of Suede in Kimball Junction. "The option is there to go private, but we want to keep it open to the public, because we think people appreciate that and will remember that the rest of the year."
Suede will offer a full slate of concerts for the week, including a show from G Love and the Special Sauce tonight, and concerts with Sound Tribe Sector 9 on Monday, Jan. 23; Slightly Stoopid and John Brown’s Body on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and The Wailers on Saturday, Jan. 28. Spearhead was scheduled to play on Friday, Jan. 20.
Cinelli said she schedules the concerts with G Love and Spearhead almost every year during the Sundance Film Festival, and the other groups have drawn crowds to the venue in the past. Plus, she said, they were all easy to work with.
"We like to surround ourselves with good people to make it easier on us," she said.
Suede will also offer DJ AM on Sunday, Jan. 22 and Thursday, Jan. 26, and DJ Swamp and a Slamdance Film Festival party on Jan. 27.
"We don’t really have a break this year," said Cinelli. "We will do some private events, but we won’t close to the public more than one or two nights,"
She said all of the events mentioned would be open to the public, and will offer an atmosphere unique to the film festival week.
"We like to pick something at least a little bit different," she said.
In Old Town, a few bars will offer special entertainment for the public. Both The Spur and The Star Bar have special musical lineups during the film festivals
While The Star Bar will serve as the official music venue of the Sundance Film Festival, hosting the ASCAP Music Caf which is open to Sundance credential-holders every afternoon from Jan. 20 through Jan. 28, the venue will host public concerts most nights during the film festivals.
"I’m so excited about this year, because the private parties are great, but the spirit just isn’t there a lot of the time," said Star Bar owner John Sutton.
Some of the most interesting events, he noted, are the ones open to the general public.
Friday, Jan. 20, The Star Bar will host DJ Mannix with special guests. Sub Pop Records will present Iron & Wine, The Fruit Bands and Band of Horses on Sunday, Jan. 22, and Adrian Grenier will play on Monday, Jan. 23.
Jan. 24, The Star Bar will present Cracker and Camper van Beethoven, and on Wednesday, Jan. 25, Sundance film "American Hardcore" will present D.O.A. and The Circle Jerks. ASCAP-L.A. and Filter magazine will host a concert featuring Athlete, Giant Drag and Foreign Born on Thursday, Jan. 26 and on Friday, Jan. 27, The Fizzies, Cody Carpenter and Nada will play.
Sutton said the schedule offered a mix of established acts like Cracker, The Circle Jerks and D.O.A. and newer, up-and-coming groups.
"You like to mix it up with the really good bands," he said.
While Sutton said The Star Bar has hosted some public concerts in the past this year will represent a significant expansion of its schedule. But that expansion happened almost completely naturally.
"How it came about this year is," he said, "only so many people can spend a lot of money to rent the whole club out."
So, he continued, Sub Pop records asked if they could make a compromise to get the venue. They became a sponsor of the show and opened the ticket sales up to the general public, giving the bands a chance to play, the companies a chance to host an event, and the people a chance to see a concert.
Sutton said the price of all the shows would be $10, and the crowd would get to see some fairly big-name bands in a small venue.
"Our capacity is 400, and it sounds like a lot to some people, but it doesn’t sound like a lot to other people," he said. "It’s an intimate situation to hear an artist in."
Down the street, The Spur will also offer concerts both night and day. In the afternoon, the bar will host the Radical Rat Revue, a showcase of new independent musicians which will run each afternoon.
"There’s killer music in there from 4-8 [p.m.]," said Casey Metzger, manager at The Spur.
At those times, the venue will be open to the public for no charge, offering an alternative to the Sundance Music Caf for those without credentials. During the Radical Rat Review, approximately 25 artists will play at The Spur, sharing the stage and performing shorter solo sets.
"It’s going to be a great spot to come in, relax, have a drink, sit by the fire and listen to some great music," Metzger said.
At night, the bar will offer a variety of bands playing longer sets.
"Every night there’s a band," said Metzger.
"We only have a few closures," he noted, "and they’re a few hours a piece."
Among The Spur’s nighttime artists are Bone Pony and Ryan Montbleau. Metzger said the cover charge for most nights would be $10.
"There’s definitely some awesome music," he said.
The Sidecar will also offer a slate of musicians. While the bar will remain closed for private events through Jan. 23, from Jan. 24 through the end of the festival, the venue will offer a variety of music, ranging from out-of town acts like Cody Carpenter and Mike Beck to in-town locals like Motherlode Canyon Band, the Small House Quartet and A-Frame.
"We want to keep it diverse," said Sidecar co-owner Mike Wong. "We want to include some local guys."
Wong said he and his partner, Conner Watts, rented the bar out early in the festival primarily for the additional revenue, but noted that they want to keep the establishment open to the public for as long as is possible.
"Being that we grew up here, we knew what it was like to go out and not be able to get a drink," said Wong. "So we wanted to stay open for our friends and all the locals who normally come here."
That was a sentiment shared by Wong, Metzger, Sutton and Cinelli alike. They each sounded excited about the quality of their lineups and the crowd the bands were likely to attract.
"We’re looking forward to the whole event," said Cinelli about Suede. "It’s tiring, but it’s a lot of fun."
For more information about bands and events around town during the Sundance Film Festival, visit http://www.parkrecord.com and click on "Entertainment"
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