Sundance traffic requires flexibility, creativity, patience — but it’s worth it |

Sundance traffic requires flexibility, creativity, patience — but it’s worth it

Brace yourself, but don’t despair. With a little careful planning and a dash of serendipity, the Sundance Film Festival can be surprisingly accessible.

Granted, the first weekend can be overwhelming, but that is part of the adventure. And, unlike a natural disaster, there is plenty of time to prepare. Lay in some extra groceries, postpone nonessential errands and give public transportation a try.

During the festival’s high-traffic periods, the Park City Transit system goes into hyper drive and, if you haven’t tried them yet, the local buses are fast, friendly and efficient. Coupled with the extra Sundance-specific routes and shuttles, getting around can be part of the celebration.

The key is attitude and the reward is being surrounded by an eclectic, energetic assembly of some of the most creative artists in the world today. Even if you didn’t score a ticket there are a number of free Sundance-related activities. For instance: filmmakers from "The Eagle Huntress," which was filmed in the mountains of Mongolia, will be inviting the public to visit a traditional yurt. And on Swede Alley passersby will be able to listen to music, watch previews of an upcoming CNN mini-series and try some of the latest virtual reality goggles. It is like a village fair but with carefully curated entertainment that represents some of the most advanced experiments in high tech media.

But Sundance does more than just stimulate our senses — the festival bestows a significant financial windfall on Park City and the state.

According to a financial study of last year’s festival, the event drew 46,107 attendees and most of them were from out of state. Festival-related spending totaled in excess of $62.2 million and the event is credited with supporting 1,139 jobs. And none of that includes the intrinsic value of having the town’s name associated with a globally respected brand like Sundance.

That is a pretty hefty contribution from a smokeless industry that moves in for a week and then packs up and leaves without a trace.

All in all the Sundance Film Festival is a boon for Park City.

But if you absolutely can’t handle the crowds, the area’s usual peace and solitude can still be found less than 15 minutes away from town and during the rest of the year, you can continue to reap the benefits of the festival’s financial bounty.

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