The weather is changing, the sun is out, summer is around the corner, and there are a wide variety of music venues in Salt Lake City where students can see great concerts.
Summer concerts are a great way for students to relax, have fun, meet new people, and experience some amazing live music. And besides the obvious entertainment and enjoyment value, concerts there are several proven physical and mental benefits from attending live shows.
According to a report by U.S News and World Report, going to concerts can reduce stress, relieve pain, foster a sense of community and connection, create a lasting sense of well-being, exercise from dancing, as well as provide an opportunity to reflect on one’s life and emotions through music.
“Loud music stimulates happiness in the brain,” says Asha Morroc-Bey, an education major at Salt Lake Community College. “Music releases dopamine, which combats the release of the stress hormone cortisol.”
A 2016 study by researchers from Imperial College of London corroborated this cortisol-lowering effect from live music, showing significant cortisol reduction in all 117 study participants after attending a concert.
Other concertgoers love the shared experience aspect of live shows, as well as watching the performers in action.
“I love the atmosphere at concerts, it brings together like-minded people to appreciate the same art form,” says Nels Anderson, a 42-year-old Salt Lake City native who has been attending concerts at Red Butte and other Salt Lake venues his whole life. “I love watching the performers feed off the vibe of the crowd and watching how they create.”
From smaller, intimate venues that showcase up-and-coming local artists, to large outdoor venues that feature national and international touring acts, there is something for everyone when it comes to the Utah summer concert scene.
Nic Smith, venue media manager for local concert promoter S&S, says it’s hard for him to choose a favorite venue, but if he had to, it’s a tie between the Urban Lounge and The Depot.
“Urban Lounge is a great dive-y venue that has tons of up-and-coming bands who play there, and it’s awesome to catch a young band there before they get really big,” he says. “However, I also love The Depot for it’s amazing sound quality and ability to seem intimate, even though it’s a 1,200-cap room.”
Another Salt Lake music scene insider, Metro Music Hall booking agent Jordan Clements, says the best and worst thing about the Salt Lake music scene is that it’s not very big.
“It’s the worst because a lot of tours will skip our city because they don’t feel confident that they will be able to sell tickets, and so we have a lack of diversity sometimes. But it’s the best because if you like live music, and you’re paying attention, you can catch tons of nationally-recognized bands who are being forced to play smaller and more intimate venues in Salt Lake,” he says.
Here’s a quick rundown of the various venues that Salt Lake City has to offer, as well as what you can reasonably expect to pay for a concert ticket at each venue.
ALL AGES VENUES
Located in a garage at the dead end of a quiet downtown street, Kilby Court has been the go-to spot to see up-and-coming local and touring bands showcase their talent for the last 20 years. The stage is just inches above the ground floor, so the interaction between the audience and the performers is very up close and personal.
Housing four different sized venues and offering a wide variety of concerts, The Complex brings an eclectic mix of national and international touring acts to Salt Lake City.
The Great Saltair
“The Coney Island of the West” has been a popular destination for Utah event and concert goes for more than a century. Built near the shores of the Great Salt Lake, Saltair is a picturesque location to see a live show. With two stages, one inside and one outside, concert goers will enjoy high quality sound from big name touring acts.
Tickets: $30 and up.
The Urban Lounge
Whether it’s big name independent artists, local home town favorites, or a stand-up comedy show, The Urban Lounge is the place to be for an intimate concert experience.
The State Room
With an emphasis on presenting a diverse array of music styles, The State Room frequently features artists from blues, jazz, country, funk, and Americana. Seating at the venue features seats, tables and standing room.
Standing next to the historic Union Pacific Railroad building in downtown Salt Lake City, The Depot is a four-story concert venue that brings the biggest national and international acts to town. Grab a drink and watch the show from the upstairs balcony or get a closer, more personal view down on the main floor.
Metro Music Hall
If you’re looking for a great night experiencing a live show, dance party, or a drag queen show, then Metro Music Hall is the place to go. Recently renovated, this venue features local acts as well as touring bands.
OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES
This 20,000-person capacity outdoor amphitheater hosts some of the biggest names in music throughout the summer and fall, against the backdrop of the gorgeous Wasatch mountains to the east.
Tickets: $30 and up
Full concert lineup: www.livenation.com/venues/14485/usana-amphitheatre
Red Butte Garden
This beautiful amphitheater is nestled within the famous Red Butte Garden near the University of Utah. These concerts usually feature artists that are catered more to the older crowd, with many classic, old time bands and acts being featured. Tickets are usually hard to attain unless you purchase from a season ticket holder. Guests can bring coolers in with their own food and beverages.
Tickets: $30 and up
Full concert lineup: www.redbuttegarden.org/concerts/
Situated in a sleek amphitheater in downtown Ogden, Ogden Twilight has quickly become the go-to venue for summer concerts featuring acts that college age students are more familiar with and enjoy. Ten concerts are scheduled this year from the beginning of June to the end of September.
Tickets: $10 or $15 the day of the show
Season tickets: $100 for general admission, $500 for VIP
Full concert lineup: www.ogdentwilight.com
Salt Lake Twilight
Produced by the Salt Lake City Arts Council, the SLC Twilight Concert series has brought dozens of world class acts to the city for over 30 years. Details for this year’s concert series have not been released yet.
Lineup TBA at: www.twilightconcerts.com