SALT LAKE CITY — The sun hasn't set on the capital city's summertime music program after all. An 11th-hour deal has revived Salt Lake City's annual Twilight Concert Series — albeit with a few changes.
Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Wednesday the resurrection of the series for 2018. Speaking at a news conference at the Finch Lane Gallery in Salt Lake City, she explained that the Salt Lake Arts Council Foundation had entered into a one-year agreement with locally based Broadway Media, giving the foundation the ability to put on the Twilight Concert Series this summer.
She said the deal would allow residents and visitors to continue enjoying the annual downtown concerts for another season, and hopefully, beyond.
“Twilight is one of the most beloved public arts programs in the city, and I am so happy we were able to find a way to bring it back for 2018,” Biskupski said. “This partnership allows the music to go on while we continue to explore ways to strengthen the concert series for future years.”
In October, the mayor's office recommended to the City Council that the concert series be canceled for the 2018 season while city leaders tried to re-work how it was planned and funded.
According to an analysis by the mayor's Office of Economic Development presented to the City Council last fall, the Twilight Concert Series had relied on city funding and some of the revenue from the Zoo, Arts and Parks tax, costing an average of about $227,000 per show. However, in order for the show to break even, each one had to make about $113,000 in revenue to stay 'out of the red,' the analysis reported. Last year, two shows in the series earned just $50,000 and ran a $126,000 deficit.
For that reason, the series was put in "pause mode," Biskupski said, until Broadway Media contacted the arts foundation and inquired about partnering with the city.
“We were saddened to see it was going away and immediately reached out to see if there was anything we could do to preserve it," said Kayvon Motiee, president of Broadway Media. "We are thrilled that we were able to come to an agreement with the Salt Lake Arts Council, the city and the Gallivan Center to continue with this cherished concert series.”
The new deal means that series can move forward with no new funding from the city, explained City Council Chairwoman Erin Mendenhall, adding there will be a few logistical changes. Among them, a move from Pioneer Park to the Gallivan Center and a reduction in the number of concerts from seven to five. However, ticket prices will remain $10, providing affordability and access to virtually every member of the local community, she said, and performances will still take place on Thursday evenings.
Concert dates and performers have yet to be determined, but the new agreement will mean a popular, local entertainment tradition can continue.
"We love it as a cultural aspect of our city," Mendenhall said. "The Twilight Concert Series is a 'gateway' art form for so many people in our community."
The series has been a staple of the local music and arts scene for three decades, said Karen Krieger, executive director of the Salt Lake City Arts Council. She added that having it continue for at least another season will be especially impactful to the Salt Lake arts community because it will free up funding to expand the foundation's offerings.
"This gives a nonprofit (like us) an opportunity to do new programming and reinvest into some of our other programs," Krieger said. "For example, the Living Traditions (folk arts) Festival in May has always been just a three-day festival. We're going to turn that into a yearlong program."
She said the new partnership will allow the growth of other arts-oriented programs, serving more people citywide.
"This agreement frees us up both staff(wise) and budget to be bigger partners in the community and really make this a lively place for art," Krieger said.