COVID-19 restrictions are quickly loosening across Utah as case numbers drop and more and more people get vaccinated. Now, many people are asking if concerts and festivals are coming back this summer.
Pete Saltas, the director of the Utah Beer Festival, says yes — at least, his festival will be back.
“Hopefully by August we’ll be okay to have some kind of beer festival," Saltas said.
The festival is a two-day event in August with thousands of people and at least 100 vendors packing into the Utah State Fair Park.
Last year, the event didn’t happen because of COVID. But this year, it’s back on.
“Right now, currently we’re going to have 50 percent capacity," Saltas said. "So if that gets extended in August, then we can address that, but right now we’re just going to stick with what’s currently being utilized by our local health departments."
While details are unknown, like how many tickets can be sold, how many vendors will be permitted, and if masks will be required, Saltas says it’s a good feeling knowing the event will happen this year and people who’ve been out of work for so long can get back to doing what they love.
“If we can bring these back safely, like you’re talking about the culture of the city, we don’t want to lose any more restaurants or bars or retail mom and pop shops. We want to help them survive,” said Saltas.
While the Utah Beer Festival will host their event, others are playing it safe and canceling for a second year — like the Utah Pride Parade and Festival.
“Given the current situation that we’re in now, it’s best to just make that decision right now of what we’re going to do, make it COVID safe, and move forward with our plan and leave the Pride Parade and Festival for 2022," Utah Pride Center spokesman Kevin Randall said.
However, that doesn’t mean the Pride Center isn’t celebrating at all. Instead, they’re hosting Utah Pride Week from June 1-7. There will be a maze, a fireworks show, and a march and rally.
“It’ll be really fun, it’ll be interactive, and it’ll be safe and comfortable for everyone," said Randall.
Others we spoke with just don’t know how to move forward.
Deer Valley and Red Butte Garden concert series both say plans are still up in the air.
And the Utah Arts Festival says ideally, they’d like to have an in-person event, but they’re still finalizing when and how to make that happen.
As for the Twilight Concert Series held in both Ogden and in Salt Lake, organizers say they will have the series but the details aren't final.
“Ideally, as the state is saying July 1 is the end of the pandemic restrictions, we feel pretty good about August being a good start," said Will Sartain, co-owner of S&S Events.
The Utah Blues Festival is also coming up with a plan. Organizer Tripp Hopkins says it’s hard to make plans with guidelines continually changing, but he’s leaning toward pushing the festival to later in the year or moving it to 2022 altogether.
“We need this so bad, and I think as a community we need these outdoor, summertime, feel-good events," said Sartain. "I just really hope that everything comes together to make it possible."
Event organizers say there are so many factors that go into deciding whether or not to have these events.
And as state and county guidelines keep changing, it makes it difficult to pin down the details of each event based on when they'll be happening.