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dreaming of summer nights

Posted By Salt Lake County ZAP
October 20, 2015

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06.03.15 blog post

What a great time it is to emerge from our winter cocoon and see what’s going on with all our Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) organizations! Performing arts organizations are unveiling their spring programming. Summer concerts are being announced. New exhibits are coming. Indoor and out – we’re all stirring ourselves. As Salt Lake County residents, we’re fortunate to have so many options, and we can take pride that part of our tax contributions go to supporting these same organizations that entertain and teach us.

With all this available, I’m connecting with friends to schedule events over the next few months. Now Playing Utah is a great place to start. It’s a central location to read about upcoming shows and exhibits with links to purchase tickets. I can also browse events that I didn’t even consider but am reading about nevertheless because the information is all right there. Public radio, local newspapers, and posters at my favorite Salt Lake County haunts remind me to scan the lineups of the concert bands coming to town.  Online, I’m also quickly scanning for discounted days and extended summer hours for the zoo, aviary, and the museums so I can share. The quicker it is to look up the information on dates, times, and prices, the easier. And if I can share the info quickly with friends via Facebook or IM on my mobile phone – even better!

I love the summer music scene in Salt Lake County – whether it’s the Red Butte Series, the Twilight Concert series, or Sandy Amphitheater. Last year, Lauryn Hill kicked off the Twilight Concert series, and there were thousands of people milling around, grooving to pre-headliners well before sunset. Owing to the support of the Salt Lake County ZAP program, the accessible price points of $5 per concert and $35 for the entire concert series allow a broad cross-section of us Salt Lake County residents to attend. It’s a great chance to see friends I haven’t seen since last summer, and the buzz of recognition is what makes Salt Lake awesome – large enough to attract great artistic talent and small enough to bump into people you recognize. Some people come early to pick their ideal picnic spot and be close enough to the stage without finding themselves in the middle of the dancing.  Some flitter from booth to booth to check out the local artwork and vendors. My friends and I choose a spot a few rows just in front of stage left – a little cozy I admit – but perfect to see the musicians up close. No one minds the bumping as people move in and out of the crowd. The thin drizzle of rain that began as Ms. Hill took the stage, and continued through her entire set, didn’t keep us from dancing. A couple of hours later, there were enough of us still there at the end to ensure a well-echoed encore plea to Ms. Hill.

If Lauryn Hill isn’t your vibe, there’s a good chance one or more of the acts coming to Red Butte, Twilight, or Sandy this year will be. I love the broad programming that goes into each of these venues, whether jazz, big band, pop, rock or country.  On a lovely summer evening I can be moving my feet or thrumming my fingers to the beat. I’m already looking forward to this year’s musicians.

 So what are you and your friends planning for in the next few months?

- Grace Lin, ZAP Tier I Advisory Board Member