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Kilby Court’s 20th Anniversary: A Celebration of Local Music



Salt Lake’s oldest all-ages venue is turning 20 in just a few days. Kilby Court, whose intimate garage feel attracts artists of all musical genres, presents its own anniversary celebration with an all-day block party. Kicking off on May 11th, the block party aims to be a massive celebration of over 15,000 artists that have been featured on the small downtown stage.

Will Sartain, the current owner of Kilby Court and co-founder of music production company S&S Presents, started working at the venue under its original owner in 2003, and eventually purchased the venue in 2008 to add to their lineup of stages for events, including Metro Music Hall, Urban Lounge and others. Presenting five to six shows a week in venues ranging from the 200-guest capacity at Kilby Court to other spaces 10 times that size, Sartain has been witness to the Kilby’s unique position as a “springboard” for local and touring artists alike. He remarks on the advantages of the intimate setting of the venue: “It is special to see artists so close.”

The list of artists who have played Kilby Court is long — familiar names include Macklemore, Foster the People, Hayley Kiyoko, Mac Miller, Good Great Fine Okay, flor, LEON and Youth Lagoon. Primarily presenting rock bands, Kilby presents a wide variety of artists and attracts an even wider variety of crowds, something that makes their anniversary celebration especially encompassing.

The block party opens at 3 p.m., featuring local and returning bands across three different stages. Headlining the event is Kilby alum Death Cab For Cutie, with performances from The National Parks, Joshua James and Ritt Momney. On the Spy Hop stage, there will be performances from Sincerely, The Universe; Resonate; Blue Rain Boots and The Sardines. With a kick-off concert the night before and a wrap-up show the night of at Urban Lounge (headlined by Joshua James and Giraffula), this local festival runs all day with non-stop entertainment, local food trucks and craft beer. True to Kilby’s legacy, it is something for all ages.

With an expected turnout of nearly 5,000 people, Sartain is excited about the energy surrounding the event and honored to have so many artists return to the venue. As a special tribute to the many bands that have taken the stage, Kilby Court is constructing a remembrance wall to be displayed during the block party, listing every single artist from its 20-year history. The total nears a staggering amount of 14,000 artists. 

As Salt Lake City becomes a growing piece of the music scene, Kilby Court (and S&S Presents) show no signs of stopping. Sartain and his partner, Lance Saunders, say that “one of their greatest achievements in their company’s history is not having to close any of their venues.” The success of their various venues, Kilby Court’s community presence and their legacy is an integral testament to Salt Lake’s music scene. The block party is not only an event to celebrate Kilby Court’s history, but Sartain’s and Saunders’ legacies as well. Don’t miss out on your chance to be apart of the momentous celebration.

Tickets for the May 11 block party are now on sale. It is $40 for general admission and $100 for VIP, which allows access to the 21+ bars, exclusive stage-viewing area and the opening and closing shows at Urban Lounge. The full schedule will be available on Kilby Court’s website, with gates opening at 3 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Keating, Arts Editor
Hannah Keating is a senior at the U studying theatre and health, society, and policy. As a storyteller by nature and trade, she's excited to start her fourth year on the arts desk and her first as editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle. You can also find her on-campus as the President of Open Door Productions, an employee of Pioneer Theatre Company and an intern for the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. In her free time, she is an avid plant mom and loves spending time outside.

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