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Musicians, entertainers hopeful that live performances will return in 2021

Posted at 9:24 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 23:24:42-05

SALT LAKE CITY — For those hoping to hear and see live music and entertainment this year, some local musicians and venue owners are right there with you.

“I’d really like to see it return to normal by fall if possible,” said Will Sartain, who co-owns a number of music venues in Salt Lake City including The Urban Lounge. “The last year’s been really difficult but we’ve really tried to keep it going in safe ways and put together events that make sense for what’s going on in the world.”

Sartain had an outdoor concert series up and running throughout the warmer months, with bands playing outside and small crowds socially distanced from others.

Now, Sartain has a limited schedule of entertainers on stage at The Urban Lounge. COVID-19 precautions and procedures are still at play including mask-wearing and social distancing. Only two dozen people are allowed entry into the venue.

“It’s difficult because you don’t know what any given day is going to look like any time there’s a spike you get really nervous and it’s challenging constantly re-thinking your business plan,” said Sartain, who would love things to get back to normal so he can hire employees back.

Another local venue Soundwell has concert scheduled for later this week. They didn’t respond to Fox13’s inquiries for an interview.

The Commonwealth Room and The State Room both have artists scheduled as early as February.

“I feel like everybody is itching to try and break out and start doing stuff again playing shows, connecting with people,” said Brady Parks, the lead singer of The National Parks, a Utah based band that tours all over the United States. “2020 was a year full of adjusting and re-arranging our plans and kind of adapting to situations fast.”

Parks says that a despite having a large tour and festivals canceled, the band still found a way to "tour" during the pandemic. They had to get creative and decided to put together a nationwide "campfire tour" that focused on extremely small, outdoor venues with less than 50 people in attendance.

“We released an album last year and kind of the thought of not being able to tour that album was really daunting,” said Parks.

The tour included nearly 40 stops. Parks says everyone stayed healthy during the four-month road-trip and they’re excited for a big announcement in Utah this year.