Plenty of exciting and unique Utah-grown performers are playing the Festival this year. Here are a few, recommended by our expert Performing Arts Coordinator, Steve ‘Doc’ Floor, you should keep your eyes — and ears — out for:
Zivio Ethnic Arts Ensemble
5:45PM, Festival Stage
A group of dancers and musicians specializing in traditional dances and music from the Balkan region. Zivio’s repertoire includes material from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia, Assyria, and Serbia, among others. Always a crowd-pleaser!
Cause & Affect
6PM, City & County Building Steps and 9:15PM, The Round
Chapman Stick player Bob Culbertson has appeared at the Festival just about every year for the last eight years, providing nice, mellow music at the Food Court. He’ll do that again this year, but will also bring his drummer, Rick Alegria (Bo Diddley, Paul Williams and Maria Muldaur's drummer), for two on-stage performances on Thursday.
6:30PM, Park Stage
This very popular Utah County band is an eclectic, electric, indie/synth-rock band with driving dance beats and hooky vocal melodies. Hailing from Provo Utah, home of bands such as Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons, Joshua James, The Used, and others, this band has never had small goals and has grown a national and international fan base using a mixture of YouTube videos, social media and touring.
Beehive Statesmen Barbershop Chorus
7PM, Festival Stage
These guys are serious about their harmonies and vocal quality, and the Festival’s coordinator of performing artists says, “I’m pretty sure they’re very stoked to perform the Festival this year, and I challenged them to wear their dark suits with the baby blue ties, as shown in their newest publicity photo; they’re threatening to actually perform in the heat at the Festival in this attire. We’ll see...”
Triggers and Slips
8:30PM, Amphitheater Stage
Country/Americana, a blend that’s not quite country and not quite rock n’ roll, and not quite alt-country either, Triggers and Slips plays as a 5- piece band that brings people to their feet with their blend of rock, honky-tonk and psychedelia.
Kate MacLeod and Friends with Special Guest James Scott
9:15PM, Garden Stage
Americana songwriter and fiddle player, Kate is the consummate Utah Arts Festival performer; she’s appeared at the Festival just about every year with different ensembles. This time, she’s bringing Nashville guitarist James Scott; it should be an intriguing show.
10:15 PM, The Round
With tables of vintage gear and psychedelic projections, Conquer Monster transports the audience to a world of well-worn VHS aesthetic and glitched-out soundscapes that wax and wane from dystopian ambiance to punchy dance-floor pop.
6PM, Festival Stage
The Utah Arts Festival could not be more honored to present this performance — the first in 15 years — by the world-renowned Utah Symphony to the people of Utah. The Symphony’s repertoire, custom-made for the Festival, will feature well-known classics, including pieces by Tchaikovsky, Strauss and the entirety of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (not something you hear done outdoors very often).
Salty Cricket Composers Collective
7:30PM, Garden Stage
Just as the name implies, Salty Cricket Collective is actually that, a community of composer/performers. New music is written and debuted at the Festival. SCCC played last year for the first time, and we are always curious to see what unique collection of performers they’ll bring this year.
Candy’s River House
9:15PM, Park Stage
Playing soulful, rock-driven anthems, power trio Candy’s River House, provides a vintage rock sound not typically played by such a young band. They’ve shared stages with the likes of Tinsley Ellis, John Németh, Indigenous, Lukas Nelson, Kyle Gass Band, Shook Twins, Walter Parks, Eric McFadden, and Jared James Nichols, and are the proud winners of Album of the Year and Best Rock Band in the 2016 Best of Utah Music Awards.
Red Rock Rondo
10PM, Festival Stage
An Emmy Award winning chamber folk ensemble consisting of six of Utah’s best-known acoustic musicians: Phillip Bimstein, Kate MacLeod, Hal Cannon, Charlotte Bell, Flavia Cervino-Wood and Harold Carr. Their debut performance was at the Festival was in 2006 and this appearance marks Rondo’s tenth anniversary. Their music is a well-crafted synergy of folk, jazz and classical, woven into a truly original Americana style.
6:15, Park Stage
The Green Leefs five-piece ensemble brings a funky-fresh, hip hop vibe, infused with R&B and reggae.
The Salt Lake Jazz Orchestra
7:30PM, Festival Stage
The Jazz Orchestra will premiere the annual UAF Jazz Composer’s Commission. This year’s winner is Kris Johnson, whose piece is entitled “A Shift West”. Henry Wolking’s arrangement of Debussy’s “Reverie,” from his new album In Sea, will also be performed that evening.
Tony Holiday Blues Review
7:30PM, Park Stage
A six-piece blues and funk band, fronted by Tony Holiday on electric harmonica and vocals, that has been touring the US coast-to-coast the past five years. Tony is a rising force on the national 'Harmonica Scene" and was recently listed by Blues Harmonica Player™ as one of top 12 up and coming harmonica players in the U.S.
8:45PM, Park Stage
The power and strength of The Soulistics, a 9-piece R&B band, shines through with this veteran outfit. They’ll feature old and new school soul, funk and disco. A fun party band.
9:45PM, The Round
Two turntables plus four microphones, and you’ve got BassMint Pros, a high-energy rap group.
Latin Jazz Factory
9:30PM, Garden Stage
The Latin Jazz Factory puts a Latin twist on well-known jazz tunes as well as original songs. Various rhythms include the Mambo, Cha Cha and Bossa Nova. These guys have played together for quite a while and have gotten real tight as they play on the 1st Saturday of each month at The Bayou.
10PM, Park Stage
An Irish rock band that has been playing their brand of high energy Celtic Rock music for many years. Not only is it high-energy, it’s a real tight group. Honorable mentions in the Celtic category go to two acoustic Iris groups, Red Branch and Leaping Lulu.
Utah Piano Competitors: Presented by the Gina Bachauer Foundation
5:30PM, Festival Stage
The Junior & Young Artists Competition coincides with the run of the Arts Festival, and for the past several years Bachauer has sponsored an established pianist or piano competitors to perform at the Festival. This year they’ve chosen to highlight Utah-based performers.
6:15PM, Garden Stage
Mountain Country performs spirited acoustic Americana music in a traditional band setting. Mountain Country is a hard working Salt Lake City music project formed by the songwriting, passion, and energy of Jim "Fish" Svendsen. His Mountain Country ensemble performs spirited acoustic music in a variety of settings —- playing tightly-crafted original material that lends itself to a modern audience.
Six Feet in the Pine
7:45PM, Park Stage
Six Feet In the Pine is equal parts American folk and dark bluegrass. Rated by ReverbNation.com as the #1 bluegrass band in Salt Lake City, this gang has cut their teeth playing back-to-back with some of the great up-and-coming folk acts.
Susanne Millsaps Performing Songwriter Showcase Winner
8:25PM, Amphitheater Stage
Sponsored by the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association (IAMA), this competition has developed a reputation that inspires local and many out of state singer/songwriters to participate in the event. Named after the late Susanne Millsaps, the Showcase honors her for her long-standing commitment to IAMA. She was also a very active member of my Performing Arts Committee, and was invaluable to me because of her dedication to music and her extensive knowledge of multiple genres. A lot of us in the community really miss her.