The idea of getting Kevin Bacon back to Payson, Utah, where many “Footloose” scenes were filmed during the summer of 1983, has been around for a while — at least two decades.

But the effort picked up more momentum than ever this school year, as the students of Payson High School did everything in their power to get Bacon to attend the school’s last prom before the building is torn down to make way for a new high school.

“For this year, we kind of put like every event toward Kevin Bacon in a way,” student council member and senior Emily Faux previously told the Deseret News. “So like everything that we’ve done … we’ve kind of just made sure that it connects to Kevin Bacon.”

And it worked.

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Will Kevin Bacon return to Utah for a ‘Footloose’ prom? These high school students aren’t giving up

Kevin Bacon will attend a high school prom in Payson, Utah

On Friday, Bacon called Payson from Atlanta, praising the high school gym full of students for their #BacontoPayson project that has generated a lot of attention amid the film’s 40th anniversary festivities.

“I have been so impressed with everything that’s been going on there with this crazy idea to get me to come back,” he said in the video, per Today, sharing how “Footloose” and Payson High School have been “a big part of his life.”

“I’ve been amazed at the work that all of you have been putting into this, with the musical and the flash mobs and the re-creations,” Bacon said.

Before Bacon’s call, it had already been confirmed that Bacon’s organization, SixDegrees, would be at Payson High School on the day of the prom to help students put together humanitarian kits for local charities in Utah (the organization has a goal of creating 40,000 humanitarian kits in total for the film’s 40th anniversary).

But Bacon took it a step further on Friday, announcing that he wouldn’t miss the big dance.

“It hasn’t gone unnoticed by me, not to mention the fact that you tied in SixDegrees.org, our foundation, and are trying to figure out ways to give back to your community. It’s really inspirational, so thank you. Thank you,” he told the students, per Today. “And I’m gonna come. I gotta come.”

The students erupted in cheers.

“We’re gonna party really hard, Kevin!” student Kaleb Dymock said.

“Thank you guys. Let’s dance,” Bacon responded.

The #BacontoPayson project

The “Footloose” pride at Payson High is strong.

Stills from the movie line the halls. Images of Bacon and Lori Singer, who plays the reverend’s daughter and Bacon’s love interest, are situated above the now-green lockers where some of their scenes unfolded.

And Bacon’s locker is still on display, complete with a “Congrats! You’ve got Kevin Bacon’s locker!” plaque.

Kevin Bacon’s character Ren McCormack’s locker in the film “Footlose” is pictured at Payson High School in Payson on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. The locker has now been memorialized and students are trying to get Kevin Bacon to come to their prom as part of the 40th anniversary of the film, which filmed many of the scenes at the school. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

“It’s something we are kind of reminded of a good amount,” Dymock, a junior and school student council member, previously told the Deseret News.

Over the past year, the students went above and beyond to get Bacon’s attention. Dymock helped rebrand the Mr. Payson pageant to the Mr. Bacon pageant, which included a bacon cook-off and recreations of the actor’s films.

The school held a community screening of the film on its new football field because, as Dymock said, “If we’re going to bring him back for ‘Footloose,’ we should probably see it.”

Homecoming was ‘80s themed, the drama club put on a production of “Footloose” and one English teacher tasked students with writing letters convincing Bacon to come back to the school.

“We’ve pulled out all the stops and we’ve tapped every resource and we’ve done all that we could do,” Jenny Staheli, the school’s student council adviser, previously told the Deseret News. “We gave it our all.”

The high school students didn’t need Bacon to get them dancing, but his attendance was 100% encouraged.

“We will do the ‘Footloose’ dance whether he is here or not,” Staheli said in February.

Kevin Bacon will also come to Lehi, Utah

Bacon has another Utah gig lined up a couple of months after Payson High School’s prom on April 20.

The actor and his brother, Michael Bacon, who form the duo The Bacon Brothers, will perform in Lehi this summer, as the Deseret News previously reported.

The city of Lehi, the site of several “Footloose” scenes, announced in a Facebook post that the Bacon Brothers will headline the Lehi Round-Up concert on June 24 (the concert is just one event in the city’s weeklong summer celebration).