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No More Karaoke

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Can there be too much music?

In times past, some in Salt Lake City and along the Wasatch might have lamented a dearth of live performances, particularly of nationally known acts. Well, put on your high-heeled sneakers, mama, ’cause we’re goin’ out tonight … and tomorrow and the night after and …

Someone make it stop.

The first annual Salt Lake City Music Festival hit town Labor Day Weekend with more musicians, bands and singers than you could shake your bootie to—or even comprehend for that matter. Hats off to the organizers, it was one wail of a bash over two days downtown. Move over Memphis.

But at exactly the same time, the Westbound Festival was taking place in Deer Valley with alt-country, folk and a little rock & roll. And if that weren’t enough, Sandy City turned up the lights on its first music festival, too. It was a bluegrass affair, similar to the one in Murray last weekend. And that’s not to mention the Moab music festival.

All of this comes on the heels of the Park City International Jazz Festival, the weekend before. And as you read this, big-time acts Tracy Chapman and Jethro Tull will have just played town, too.

None of that, of course, takes into account Salt Lake City’s own growing music scene. Every weekend along the Wasatch, local artists and out-of-towners are plying their trade in smoky clubs and beer taverns. That’s not to mention the party atmosphere surrounding the summer concert series at Gallivan Plaza downtown, or the laid-back and refreshing ambience at Red Butte Garden’s summer series. Those small-venue gigs, in turn, contrast with the truly huge blockbuster concerts like Britney Spears and Bruce Springsteen, who now find the time and money to make Salt Lake City a stopover.

Had enough? Well, maybe for one week. Doubtless, there will be spells coming when a good concert is hard to find. So, we have to wonder, why are we throwing all these music festivals on Labor Day Weekend, a time when a lot of folks are out of town on the last big weekend of summer?

Maybe, just maybe, the Salt Lake City Music Festival could be on another weekend. Maybe all those nice people who set up these extravaganzas should communicate with each other and spread them out across the summer. Think it over.

On the flip side, this is the kind of problem a community likes to have—too much good music happening all at once. It’s a refreshing change from the time when karaoke was the only act in town.

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