Audiences can look forward to a “normal concert series” this summer at Red Butte Garden, said the garden’s executive director, Derrek Hanson — after two years of cancelled shows and restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 season of Red Butte’s Outdoor Summer Concert Series was canceled altogether because of the pandemic. Last summer saw one show cancel because the headliner couldn’t travel to America — and another act cancel because the garden, which is part of the University of Utah, could not follow the band’s “COVID rider” that required audience members to show proof of vaccination. (The U., being a state agency, is governed by the rules set by the Utah Legislature.)
This year, Hanson said he hopes this year’s concerts — the full slate of 30 shows was announced Tuesday — will help with the economic recovery not only of musicians, but of the venues and the people who work the shows, from sound and light technicians to security, police and subcontractors.
Scheduling the 2022 season has been “tricky to navigate,” Hanson said, and the garden has contingency plans — including limiting audience capacity — if a new COVID-19 variant pops up.
“We’re fortunate that we’re outdoors,” he said. “So we have a better chance than say a club or indoor theater.”
Still, he said, the venue’s hands are tied when it comes to COVID policies that the artists might want that go beyond state law.
“It just feels different this year, we’re not getting that much pushback or even questions about it this year,” Hanson said. “It feels like there’s this whole like a like a relief through the industry.”
Hanson has been with the garden for nearly 21 years, and was promoted from deputy director to executive director in 2021. Through his decades of working on the concert series, he said, there’s no “clear defined way” in how they put the line up together. Many of this year’s acts, like last year’s, were carryovers from the canceled season of 2020.
The line-up includes artists from alternative-indie, pop, rock, and folk music genres.
Hanson has favorites he’s looking forward to — he listed Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio’s solo project, indie-folk singer José González, and folk group Caamp — but, he added, “one thing I’ve learned over the years is I get surprised almost every year by somebody I didn’t expect to be as good as they were, somebody I didn’t normally listen to.”
Tickets will go on sale April 25 for Garden members and for the general public on May 2 on their website. Red Butte Garden is located at 300 Wakara Way in Salt Lake City and seats 3,000 individuals.
Here is the full line-up:
Wednesday, May 18 • KALEO an Icelandic alt-rock band will headline the opening concert, and be accompanied by opening act Bones Owens, an alternative musician. (Previously announced.)
Friday, May 20 • Improv rock and free jazz band Trey Anastasio Band will perform on this date. (Previously announced.)
Tuesday, June 14 • She & Him is an American musical duo, consisting of actor-musician Zooey Deschanel (”New Girl”) and M. Ward.
Wednesday, June 15 • ZZ Top is a legendary blues-rock band from Houston.
Saturday, July 23 • Americana string band Old Crow Medicine Show will perform.
Monday, Aug. 1 • Americana rock band The Revivalists will perform.
Wednesday, Aug. 17 • The Black Crowes, an Americana rock band, will mark the 30th anniversary of their album “Shake Your Money Maker.”
Monday, Aug. 22 • Boy George & Culture Club, the ‘80s New Wave group from England, will headline.
Monday, Aug. 29 • José González is a Swedish-born indie-folk artist.
Thursday, Sept. 8 • Umphrey’s McGee, Americana jam band.
Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.