For many University of Utah students, music festivals and outdoor concerts can be as fundamental to summer as ice cream, swimming and sunburns. While many festivals across the world attract hundreds of thousands of spectators, many don’t realize Utah offers a surprising number of chances to get your live music fix. If you are still feeling ripped off that you couldn’t cough up hundreds of dollars for Coachella, check out some of these closer — and cheaper — options right here in at home.
Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Wasatch Mountains, Bonanza is a large three-day festival in Heber that appeals to lovers of both music and the outdoors with its live concerts, art and campgrounds. This year’s headliners are electronic musician Zhu, rapper Wiz Khalifa and indie pop star Halsey. Thirty artists from a variety of genres will play at the festival, including Oh Wonder, Local Natives, Børns and Blackbear. The festival will be held from June 22-24 and ticket prices start at $175. Visit bonanzacampout.com for more information.
Twilight Concert Series
This beloved Salt Lake City tradition was in danger of ending this year, but fortunately is returning in an altered form this August and September. Five concerts pairing national and local acts will be performed on Thursday nights at the Gallivan Center. (For the past several years, the series was hosted at Pioneer Park.) The lineup of bands will be announced at a later date, and general admission tickets will cost $10. To learn more about the changes in Twilight Concert Series, visit twilightconcerts.com.
Ogden Twilight aims to keep audiences entertained throughout the summer with 10 concerts performed at Ogden Amphitheater. The lineup is an impressive variety of acclaimed indie artists, including The Flaming Lips, Sylvan Esso, Broken Social Scene and Chvrches. General Admission tickets are $10 and VIP and season ticket options are available online. To learn more and see the full lineup, visit ogdentwilight.com.
Great music meets social advocacy in this unique festival founded by Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds. Reynolds, who is Mormon, wanted to create an event that bridged the gap between two groups that are sometimes at odds — his religion and the LGBTQ+ community. This desire inspired him to create LoveLoud, a concert and corresponding foundation designed to support LGBTQ+ youth. This year’s festival aims to raise at least $1 million for LGBTQ+ charities including Provo-based resource center Encircle. LoveLoud will be held on July 28 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The show will be hosted by queer comic Cameron Esposito and will feature performances from Imagine Dragons, Zedd, Mike Shinoda, Grace Vanderwaal, Tyler Glenn, Vagabon and AVV. Ticket prices start at $29.50. For more information on the festival’s mission and to purchase tickets, visit loveloudfest.com.
Red Butte Concert Series
It’s difficult to find a venue more scenic than the outdoor amphitheatre at Red Butte Garden, a botanical garden on the U of U Campus. From May to September, Red Butte will host 29 concerts from a diverse lineup of musicians, including Ryan Adams, The Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow and Death Cab for Cutie. Ticket prices vary each performance and ticket packages are available. To learn more, visit redbuttegarden.org/concerts.
Stadium of Fire
America’s Freedom Festival at Provo is an annual event hosted on Independence Day designed to promote patriotism and traditional American values. The festival is most famous for hosting Stadium of Fire, a concert and fireworks show featuring a popular artist. This year the headliner is the Grammy-nominated pop band OneRepublic. The show will be held at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on July 4, and ticket prices start at $35. Visit freedomfestival.org to learn more about Stadium of Fire and the other events of the festival.
Deer Valley Music Festival
Hosted at the spectacular Deer Valley Resort, this eight-week festival caters to more classical tastes as the “summer home of the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.” The unique lineup features classical compositions alongside selections of pop and Broadway. This year the symphony will perform music from Mozart, Beethoven, ABBA and Pink Floyd. Many concerts also include special guests — some of this year’s best-known additions are pop singer Rick Springfield and Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth. Tickets are available at Abravanel Hall Ticket Office or through ArtTix. More information is available at deervalleymusicfestival.org.
One of Utah’s wildest parties will be at the Great Saltair on August 17 and 18. Thousands are expected to dance the night away in the seventh iteration of this festival, which focuses primarily on electronic music. So far, Das Energi has announced performances from Kaskade, deadmau5, Dillon Francis and Rezz, with a full lineup and schedule to be announced soon. Tickets start at $160 and are sold online and at a variety of vendors throughout the Salt Lake Valley. For ticket options and FAQs, visit dasenergifestival.com.
Sounds of Summer Concert Series
If you’re looking for the opportunity to support local talent in a fresh, relaxed atmosphere, try this series hosted at the stunning Sundance Mountain Resort. The concerts are held Sunday nights, each show is free of charge and food trucks will offer a wide range of bites. These concerts show off the abundance of talented artists in our community and give audiences the chance to discover a new favorite band. Sundance is also hosting a concert from the band Belle and Sebastian on June 20. Tickets to Belle and Sebastian start at $40. You can learn more about both of these events at sundanceresort.com.
Vans Warped Tour
If you have ever wanted to experience the largest traveling music festival in America, this summer will likely be your last chance. According to founder Kevin Lyman, Vans Warped Tour will no longer tour across the country after this summer. The festival, which primarily features alternative and punk rock acts, will visit more than 30 American cities this summer, with a stop at USANA Amphitheatre planned for June 30. More than 50 acts are planned for the Salt Lake stop, including 3OH!3, Black Veil Brides, Mayday Parade and We the Kings. Tickets start at $45. To learn more about the general tour or the Salt Lake City performance, visit vanswarpedtour.com.