In the midst of the controlled pandemonium at the Sundance Film Festival are people of all walks of life merged together to support a cause of independence.
Ranging from entrepreneurs to actors, cocktail waitresses, annual attendees, tourists, producers, celebrities and much more, Sundance has a lot to offer people from all walks of life.
“We started with $417 in sweatshirts our first run, and now we have three boutiques and global distribution, but at the end of the day are goals are much bigger than that for the brand, and we trying to bring it to people around the world,” says Jiberish founder Pete Drago.
A young entrepreneur, Drago, 34, and his two good friends Dave Boger, 33, and Gabe Anderson, 31, started in Denver’s LoHI District selling sweatshirts to their local community as a hobby. Coincidentally, this hobby caught fire and now Drago and his team have three boutiques – one in Boston, one in Denver and one at 314 Main St. Park City.
The line does not target a specific audience; however, it does attract a lot of outdoor sports individuals such as snowboarders and skiers.
“It’s a classic menswear flipped up with a modern twist,” says Drago.
Drago and his team have quietly made a name for themselves in the industry and have paved a road for other entrepreneurs that seek this line of work.
“Jiberish is a real tight knit family – the brand continues to mature and refine itself, and we just want to keep growing and evolving – the guys here are doing real cool things,” says Vault store manager Samuel Ileum.
A two-year employee of the Park City location, Ileum enjoys his job and those he comes in contact with.
“I enjoy interacting with people,” says Ileum. “Jiberish has been one of the greatest opportunities I’ve had.”
During Sundance, the Jiberish crew put together a small boutique party with DJs and beverages, inviting all the people that were involved in the festival.
Sundance proves to be a place of great opportunity and caters to a wide audience. Although it’s located in Park City where it is often bitter cold, it still in some way has a warm atmosphere and attracts many people.
Some attend the festival because of the financial opportunity it provides.
“As a cocktail waitress, Sundance is a great opportunity to make money. A lot of girls that don’t even cocktail on a regular basis like to work the event because of the money they can make. There are also other opportunities to meet people and see shows,” says cocktail waitress Sydnee Zisumbo. “I would say the best part about my job is the money. In such a small amount of time I can make a lot. I also get to listen to great music at no cost.”
What the festival offers is very rewarding for most, but there are also some drawbacks.
“The biggest con is the long hours and also, not really getting to enjoy the rest of Sundance. I would have liked to see some shows or go to different parties but you don’t really have time for that,” says Zisumbo. “Because I don’t get to enjoy the festival much, I think it is great that we get so many tourists and celebrities who can come and enjoy Park City. It’s great exposure for Utah.”
While some people go in search of greater opportunity, others go simply because they enjoy the festival’s atmosphere.
“I love it up here; my husband and my daughter ski while I enjoy the excitement of Sundance,” says annual Sundance attendee Ann Hymen.
Everything becomes elevated to the next level during the week of the festival, and everyone from the movie goers to the employees of small businesses seem to benefit.
“It goes from zero to a hundred in about 20 minutes – it’s crazy – the whole town changes – everybody comes in, and it’s like L.A. and New York clash, and it’s here,” says Park City Fine Arts director and University of Utah graduate Megan Hanson.