Kilby Block Party 3: Good Music, Good Food, Good Vibes


Art Installation at Kilby Block Party (Photo by Luke Jackson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Luke Jackson


Kilby Court, Salt Lake City’s quintessential concert venue, has just sported its third Kilby Block Party music festival in the heart of downtown SLC. 

The realm of music, stages and lights has been heavily neglected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it made sense Kilby Block Party’s big-name musicians, local artists and food trucks drew in thousands of listeners with a successful set off to the summer.

A Spectrum of Artists

With four stages hosting 36 artists over two full days, the Kilby Block Party has never been a minute event. The large-scale size of big-name music festivals that dot calendars and cities across the nation is where I find their beauty to lie. The vast variety these festivals offer ensures that no two groups of people attending will venture the same experience, yet simultaneously, the collective desire to enjoy live music unifies everyone in attendance. The sense of community I felt from the first time I entered the festival to the final number of Phoebe Bridgers’ closing set is something I will keep with me for a long time to come.

While Bridgers, arguably the biggest name to play this year’s block party, drew many fans in; there was no shortage of incredible artists to be seen. Whether it be the singers of TikTok viral sounds like Clairo or JAWNY, or new local favorites such as Dad Bod, Kilby had it all. I had the chance to witness some absolute bangers that were the highlights of this dazzling event.


As a Canadian in this foreign land, my heart is always warmed when I see artists from my home in the spotlight.

Alvvays performs at Kilby Block Party. (Photo by Luke Jackson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Therefore, when I saw not only a headline show from Canadian indie sovereign Mac DeMarco but also an appearance by Canadian band Alvvays, I was simply stoked out of my gourd.

The indie-rock group Alvvays has been around for a little over 10 years, and I personally stumbled upon them through an offbeat app called 8tracks. Their hit, “Archie, Marry Me,”  is a soulful and nostalgic little bop that I often blast whenever the sun is out and I can roll my windows down — perfect for the summertime. I could not have procured better conditions to watch them live, as the sun was smiling down on the North Stage and I was swept away in a musical fever dream of easy listening tunes I could not recommend enough.

Blue Rain Boots

My sleeper pick for the block party had to be local Salt Lake band Blue Rain Boots. As I entered the festival on the second day, a groovy bassline took grasp of my body and suddenly pulled me in until I was at the stage front. There, in retro blue and orange read the nameBlue Rain Boots” above the four members, all in jeans and T-shirts, absolutely jamming. Their music is dreamy yet grungy, an intoxicating combination of garage rock and lo-fi indie perfectly discernable in their newly released track “Hold Me.”

Blue Rain Boots at Kilby Block Party. (Photo by Luke Jackson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

If you’re on the prowl for new songs and artists to add to your summer playlist, I humbly submit Blue Rain Boots for your consideration. Their unbeatable stage presence is somehow outmatched by their galvanizing sound, and I have personally been fed plentifully since delving into their discography.

More Than Just Music

Art installation at Kilby Block Party. (Photo by Luke Jackson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

While the incredible music was the hero of the event, the food, art and drink assortment was as essential as Robin is to Batman. Food trucks were scattered throughout the venue, each holding a fresh new wonder for my palate to enjoy. On a slight incline looking over the venue was a large field reserved for merch and art installations. Here local artists set up shop, developing all sorts of varying installations for Kilby-goers to peruse. Large painted cubes, murals and sculptures could all be admired while the festival’s music pulsed in the background.

These extra amenities reminded me of just how important festivals are for a city. The annual Kilby Block Party festivals have slowly begun paving a path for Utah’s place among big-name city music festivals, such as Austin City Limits and The Governor’s Ball. Not only was Kilby Block Party 3 a stage for musicians, new and old, but culinary and visual artists were also given precedence to share their gifts.

One small mural in the art installation area stated elegantly, “Make SLC an Art City.” If it was not already, the Kilby Block Party certainly sent us on our way to becoming one.


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