Best of Utah 2018 | An ode to the people, places, products and services that make life the Beehive State exceptional. | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

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LOVELOUD FOUNDATION
  • Loveloud Foundation

Best Concert of the Year
LoveLoud
Being part of a great show is one thing; being a part of a movement is something else entirely. For the second year, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds brought together a great lineup of music—including his own band, Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn and Grace VanderWaal—for a full day that also featured speakers addressing the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth. The result was a spectacular event that raised more than $1 million for nonprofits like the Trevor Project.
2. Chris Stapleton
3. Pink

Best All-Ages Venue
Kilby Court
Over the past 15 years, the fine folks at Kilby Court have worked hard to turn a small converted garage into a cherished fixture of Salt Lake City's music scene. From local upstarts to touring indie darlings and everything in between, Kilby gives music fans of all ages and of all stripes a chance to see their favorite artists up-close and personal.
748 W. Kilby Court, 800-513-7540, kilbycourt.com
2. The Complex
3. Diabolical Records

Best Dance Company
Ballet West
Generations of family members have shared the holiday magic of Ballet West's distinctive annual performance of The Nutcracker—but if your familiarity with the company ends there, you've got some wonderful discovery ahead of you. From revitalized versions of classic pieces to the opportunity to experience the best new works from around the country at the National Choreographic Festival, Ballet West offers experiences that allow your spirit to soar right along with the dancers.
2. Repertory Dance Theatre
3. Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co.

Best DJ
DJ Bad Hair Day
Defending his 2017 win in this category is only the latest achievement for the artist born Andre Adams, who has spent the past decade building a résumé that has taken him from hosting rap battles at U92's Summer Jam to DJing for Salt Lake Screaming Eagles professional football and opening for acts like Pitbull, T-Pain, De La Soul and TechN9ne. And his talents expand to writing and producing his own music, making him a truly multi-threat entertainer.
2. John Florence
3. Brad Wheeler

ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón

Best Drag Entertainer

Jason CoZmo
He's brought a personality bigger than Dolly Parton's ... um ... hair to his Salt Lake City drag shows, and even to the cover of this very publication. The Utah native not only performs—from risqué takes on Disney characters to his trademark Dolly—but produces and stages the Viva La Diva shows he created after returning to the Beehive State from the East Coast, proving you can come home again, fabulously.
2. Gia Bianca Stephens
3. Denali

Best Friend of the Arts
Utah Arts Alliance
There should never be a barrier to creative people finding a way to bring their work to the world—at least that's the principle behind this wide-ranging organization. From creating the Connect program to offering a showcase for new artists, to staging the free Urban Arts Festival annually, to providing studio and creative workspace, UAA and executive director Derek Dyer keep expanding the boundaries of who can be an artist. utaharts.org
2. Dina Krikova
3. Cat Palmer

Best Gallery
Urban Arts Gallery
The location moved down the block at The Gateway recently, but it's still the place for a uniquely egalitarian take on visual arts showcases. Annual events like the Skate Deck Show, or exhibitions centered around pop-culture pillars like Star Wars and video games invite every kind of creator and every kind of spectator to be part of the experience of what a gallery can offer.
116 S. Rio Grande St., 801-230-0820, urbanartsgallery.org
2. Phillips Gallery
3. 15th Street Gallery

Best Instagram Feed
@IconoCLAD
The stalwart downtown second-hand store is more than just a great place to pick up vintage clothing, or hang out with the resident cats. The shop keeps its Instagram followers in the loop on the latest new arrivals with regular posts, or showing customers selfie-modeling a perfect find. It's also a great way to find out when they're having a clearance sale.
2. @UtahGrubs
3. @IndieOgdenUtah

Best Live Music Venue
Usana Amphitheatre
Every place has its downside, and while some of the logistics of getting into and out of Usana continue to prove challenging, it's hard to argue with the experience patrons have when they're at the show. The 20,000-capacity amphitheater continues to be the state's main summer showcase for some of the world's biggest musical acts, bringing classic-rock icons and modern superstars from every genre to adoring crowds.
5150 Upper Ridge Road, West Valley City
2. Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
3. The Depot

Best Local Band/Group
Royal Bliss
Few bands exemplify resilience like this quartet, as they soldier into their third decade. Neither landing, then losing, a major record deal, nor vocalist Neal Middleton's brush with paralysis after falling from a balcony, nor drummer Jake Smith's 2003 car accident has kept them from an impressive output of earthy hard-rocking music, and from playing to packed houses throughout the state and around the country.
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Pixie and the Partygrass Boys

Best Museum
Natural History Museum of Utah
The stunning Rio Tinto Center welcomes guests to a place that feels distinctively Utah inside and out. Permanent exhibitions showcase the history of the region's Indigenous peoples and prehistoric inhabitants (with complete life-sized skeletons), teach about local ecosystems and highlight geology with dazzling gemstones, all in a hands-on way that welcomes learning experiences for every age.
301 Wakara Way, 801-581-4303, nhmu.utah.edu
2. Utah Museum of Fine Arts
3. The Leonardo

Best Music Festival
Bonanza
The potentially high-stress environment of a massive music festival can't help but feel more laid back when the attendees get to sleep where they're partying. The edge of the river in Heber City turned into a mini-city this June, where more than 30 acts—including headliners like Wiz Khalifa and Halsey—provided the musical energy, and the beautiful setting provided the incentive to camp out and make it a wild three-day weekend.
2. Das Energi
3. Reggae Rise Up

Best Piece of Public Art
Spiral Jetty
It's kind of an unfair fight, since Robert Smithson's 1970 work—a 1,500-foot coil of basalt and salt on the shore of the Great Salt Lake—is a landmark not just in the sense of its familiarity, but in its place in the history of environmental art. While the drought-reduced level of the lake might be alarming for many reasons, it has offered visitors a chance to experience a unique and fascinating piece of Utah art history.
2. SLC Pepper
3. Banksy in Park City

Best Theater Company
Salt Lake Acting Co.
For 48 years, Salt Lake Acting Co. has built a history of inspiring and entertaining audiences with a unique mix of locally created world-premieres, cutting-edge new works and even Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals. With the annual season finale of Saturday's Voyeur exploding Utah's sacred cows with its satirical bite, the company proves over and over again that this can indeed be the place for risk-taking theater that's not afraid to get its hands dirty.
168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, saltlakeactingco.org
2. Hale Centre Theatre
3. Pioneer Theatre Co.
Honorable mention: Viva La Diva

Best Visual Artist
Cat Palmer
Year-in and year-out, City Weekly readers share their love of Palmer's photographic artistry, which can find her everywhere from a wedding to a booth at the Utah Arts Festival to shooting protesters at the Capitol spelling out "Go Home Trump" with their bodies. As she told CW in a 2018 interview, "I have the portraiture work, and I have my art work. ... For one, I'm being commissioned by people, and for the other, I'm coming up with my own ideas, where I can get angry, get rowdy, get loud."
2. Sril Art
3. Daniel Overstreet

ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón

Best Record Shop
Randy's Record Shop
In an age where physical media seems on the verge of extinction, there are still places that celebrate discovering music by picking it up with your hands. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Randy's still pulls in patrons with a massive collection of vinyl LPs and 45s—and, yes, CDs—plus quarterly sales that allow music lovers to carry even more stuff home, and treat it with love.
157 E. 900 South, 801-532-4413, randysrecords.com
2. Graywhale Entertainment
3. Raunch Records


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