The Music Plays On at Local Stages

Park City Song Summit brings live performances back to town.

By Jenny Willden June 22, 2021 Published in the Summer/Fall 2021 issue of Park City Magazine

Park City Song Summit comes to town this September.

Summer is in full swing in the mountains, and with it comes the return of events after more than a year of Covid closures. Picture it: a crowd gathered around Blue Sky Ranch’s charming barn, humming along as a guitar-strumming songwriter plays. Or imagine strolling down Main Street to find flash jams and busking sessions breaking out on a historic block. Expect this and more at Park City Song Summit, a revamped event bringing 75 artists to town for live, unplugged performances.

Originally called the Park City Songwriters Festival, this transformed event returns September 8–12 to redefine the live music experience. Rather than emphasizing just musical performances, the Summit focuses on songwriters’ entire creative journeys, making the term “festival” a misnomer. It instead provides a retreat-like environment for both songwriters and music lovers to recharge, learn, and grow. And though it’s no costume-clad Coachella, live music is crucial to the Summit experience, which features ticketed performances at 10 venues ranging from spacious theaters to intimate bars.

An inventive Labs program adds TED Talk–style discussions that examine the act of songwriting, plus the challenges that go along with it. Artists will lead and listen to labs ranging from poetry writing and the history of rhythm to mental health recovery.

Founder Ben Anderson, a retired trial lawyer who struggled with addiction, launched Park City Song Summit to bring the mental health and addiction struggles that artists face into the light. Anderson hopes this one-of-a-kind event helps songwriters and attendees exchange insights, ignite their creative fire, and overcome addiction.

The Song Summit plans to go on safely in accordance with all health orders, with approximately 5,000–7,000 tickets available. Safety protocols like social distancing and mask requirements will be implemented (if necessary) based on September’s Covid-19 situation.

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