Red Butte Gears Up for Another Smooth Summer Concert Series
One of the joys of living in Salt Lake City in the summertime is the Red Butte Garden concert series. There is nothing quite like spreading out a blanket, uncorking some wine, and enjoying music from talented artists of yesterday and today, all while nestled in the mouth of one of the valley’s most gorgeous canyons.
For serious music fans, though, there are some drawbacks to the venue. The picnic-y atmosphere and BYOB policy tends to result in a good portion of the crowd yammering on through most of the show. This may be why a few of the stalwart acts who have played Red Butte in prior years opted to move to the pristine, new, and acoustically perfect Eccles Theater downtown.
But it seems there are enough friendly rock acts for the 30+ set to go around this summer, as Red Butte’s recently announced lineup is as stacked as ever. Perennial favorites like Tedeschi Trucks Band and Jason Isbell join first timers HAIM and The Head and the Heart. Indie rockers The Decemberists and Portugal. The Man both return after sold out performances in the 2015 series. Gov’t Mule and the Trey Anastasio Band fill out an unusually strong showing from the jam band set. There are a number of bonafide guitar gods in the ranks, including Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Santana. And as always, there’s plenty of overpriced nostalgia acts for those with cash to spare. Expect to see SLC’s socialites sipping wine and reminiscing during ZZ Top, Jethro Tull, and Lyle Lovett.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list is Southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers. Although front-man Patterson Hood and former member Jason Isbell have sold out plenty of solo shows in this city over the years, the full band hasn’t been here in a decade. During Hood’s last show at the State Room, he spoke fondly of the departed Zephyr theater, raved about Red Iguana’s Mexican food, and said it was about time he brought his band back through town. A few of us near the front shouted “Play Red Butte!” and it seems he got the message. It will be interesting to see if the DBT’s die hard fanbase, which reliably fills smaller venues around the country, has enough of a presence in Utah to fill Red Butte’s larger capacity.
Another surprise is the Utah Symphony coming to the Garden to play John Williams’ popular film scores. The Symphony is a regular presence at Deer Valley’s concert series, but they don’t usually play on the mountain closer to home.
We do want to warn you that “Jason Mraz and his Superband” will be hitting the series on Tuesday, June 20th, in case you want to book a vacation around that time.
If any of this interests you, or if–like many Red Butters–you just want to get drunk and talk to your friends on a mountain while some famous rock star plays in the background, grab your cooler and come on up to the Garden. We’ll see you there.
Here’s the full list of acts:
Tuesday, May 23 » Jethro Tull by Ian Anderson
Friday, June 2 » Trey Anastasio Band — Paper Wheels Tour
Sunday, June 4 » TajMo: The Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ Band
Sunday, June 18 » Dispatch: America, Location 12 Tour with Guster, Jake Shimabukuro
Tuesday, June 20 » Jason Mraz and His Superband
Wednesday, June 28 » Santana — Transmogrify Tour
Thursday, July 6 » Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Thursday, July 13 » Amos Lee
Friday, July 14 » North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne Present: N.M.O. / Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real
Thursday, July 20 » Mary Chapin Carpenter with Sarah Jarosz
Friday, July 21 » Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Sunday, July 23 » RetroFutura Tour: Howard Jones, The English Beat, Men Without Hats
Tuesday, July 25 » Portugal. The Man
Tuesday, Aug. 1 » Wheels of Soul Tour: Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Wood Brothers, Hot Tuna
Wednesday, Aug. 2 » John Williams’ Film Music featuring the Utah Symphony
Friday, Aug. 4 » Drive-By Truckers with Asleep at the Wheel
Thursday, Aug. 10 » Gregory Alan Isakov / Blind Pilot
Sunday, Aug. 13 » The Head and the Heart with Matt Hopper and The Roman Candles
Tuesday, Aug. 15 » The Decemberists with Olivia Chaney
Wednesday, Aug. 16 » Chick Corea Elektric Band / Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
Thursday, Aug. 17 » Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue / St. Paul and The Broken Bones
Sunday, Aug. 20 » Herbie Hancock
Monday, Aug. 21 » Lake Street Dive
Thursday, Aug. 31 » ZZ Top — Tonnage Tour
Wednesday, Sept. 06 » John Butler Trio with Nattali Rize
Friday, Sep. 8 » Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Sounds
Tuesday, Sep. 12 » HAIM
Wednesday, Sept. 13 » Sheryl Crow — Be Myself Tour
Thursday, Sept.14 » Gov’t Mule — Revolution Come … Revolution Go Tour