WEST VALLEY CITY — After losing about $500,000 in four years, Red Hot 4th executive producer Bryce Jolley is moving his show to a new amphitheater here.
"We gave it four years at the U.," said Jolley, a former Salt Lake City councilman and president of the nonprofit group Wasatch Independence Day Festival, which organizes the annual event.
But the costs of bringing fireworks and live music to the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium was too much. "We had some great shows."
Logistics also played a part in Jolley's decision. Putting on a show in the U.'s 40,000-seat facility, where the live music is encircled by its audience and lighting with less desirable sight lines, just didn't make sense anymore.
United Concerts and other investors are bringing a 20,000-person capacity amphitheater to West Valley City for shows starting this summer. It's more geared toward a concert atmosphere, requiring less set-up and overhead costs for Jolley.
"It probably makes sense for them to go to a smaller venue," said Fred Esplin, vice president of university relations. "We'll miss them."
It's possible, Jolley said, that the show could someday return to Rice-Eccles Stadium if audience numbers increase. Jolley still owes the university about $72,000 in profits from the Red Hot 4th.
For now, Jolley is confident that traditions — and the crowds — that started at Rice-Eccles will flow into West Valley City. The new location now allows for two days, July 3 and 4, of live music and fireworks.
Tickets will also cost less this year — $22 for reserved seats, $12.50 for lawn and $50 for a family of five pass — because of lower production costs. Jolley said he negotiated a deal that will reduce his financial risk this year by paying United Concerts a percentage of the ticket sales instead of a flat fee.
This year's entertainment includes the Beach Boys and the Beatles cover band Imagine for July 3. The following day will feature Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Lawrence and Joe Diffie with the Rockin' Roadhouse Tour.
The Utah Symphony will also perform July 4 here, moving from its Sugarhouse Park location.