No Twilight Concert Series in 2018

Posted at 5:49 PM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 19:49:36-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Twilight Concert Series will not come back next year and the future of the downtown event is being reviewed after some shows were in the red.

It may return in 2019 in a different form than what fans experience at Pioneer Park.

A recommendation by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski's office is that the event not be funded for the 2018 season. The Salt Lake City Council has also not kicked any money toward it for next summer while they begin a review of the overall event.

"We just wanted some clarification as to how it’s being spent and what the return is," Councilman Stan Penfold told FOX 13.

In a memo to the Salt Lake City Council, the city's office of economic development said Twilight Concert Series relies on city funding and a cut of the Zoo, Arts and Parks tax. It costs, on average, $227,000 per show.

"Each show needs to capture $113k in earned revenue on average to keep from running a deficit. Two shows in the 2017 Twilight Concert Series earned $50k in earned revenue," the memo said. "Those two shows on their own ran a $126k deficit - meaning other shows had to cover the earned revenue lost during those shows."

In past years, the Salt Lake City Council has funneled emergency loans to the Salt Lake Arts Council for the concerts.

"There are some we just didn’t hit the mark. The challenge with having a summer concert series is you’re going to have ones that are not terribly successful," said Lara Fritts, the director of the Salt Lake City Office of Economic Development, which oversees some aspects of the Twilight Concert Series with the Salt Lake Arts Council.

With tight deadlines looming to book artists, Fritts said it was decided to take a break while the city council reviewed their commitment to the event.

Options presented to the city council on Tuesday include leaving it as-is (but asking for more money); scaling down the number of shows from seven to four; moving it from Pioneer Park to the Gallivan Center; or moving Twilight around the city with some smaller shows.

Cancelling the Twilight Concert Series entirely would save taxpayers about $150,000 -- but there would be other consequences. The event is one of many cited as a downtown attraction for both visitors and companies seeking to relocate here. The amount of money the city gets in ZAP tax funding would also be shrunk, which could affect other events the Salt Lake Arts Council puts on like the Living Traditions Festival.

"I think what we’re looking at is are there ways to reconfigure Twilight that keep the kind of entertainment we’re looking for, that diversity in entertainment, to keep the audience and audience diversity," Penfold said. "That’s what I get excited about."

Fritts said she believed Twilight is not dead, but would benefit from the city council's review of it.

"The majority of our population is between 18 and 34," she said. "It’s a young, vibrant, cool community. We want to make sure we’re providing arts for all residents, including that hip, vibrant community. We think Twilight is a necessary part of it. What we’re looking for is direction."