Redefining the live music experience, the Park City Song Summit, held September 7-11 in Park City, Utah proved to be an intimate mountain retreat for music lovers. The inaugural music festival boasted conversations and collaborations with today’s brightest culture bearers and shined a light on wellness and mental health in music. The event, curated by musician, former lawyer and current Park City native Ben Anderson, was a mix of intimate songwriter rounds, artist-led discussion panels, and live shows in small intimate venues.
During the day, panels of musicians, media personalities and other industry figures lead moderated discussions in Summit Labs at the Lodges at Deer Valley. These artist-led discussions took place across three stages bringing fans closer to the artists they love in a format unlike any other festival or conference. Along with discussions about music and the craft of songwriting, many Labs also addressed global issues and focused on addiction recovery, mental health, suicide prevention, and race relations. Participants included comedian and actor Fred Armisen, singer-songwriter Andrew Bird, award-winning singer Jason Isbell, Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule, Jay Blakesberg, known for his photographs of the Grateful Dead photographer, Mavis Staples, Margo Price, and more.
Lab topics included “Comedy For Musicians, But Everyone Is Welcome” in which Fred Armisen talked music and comedy; “That’s The Way The World Goes Round” with Jason Isbell, Warren Haynes, Margo Price, and Newport Folk’s Jay Sweet who explored the lessons left behind by the great John Prine; “A Long Way To Go” where Celisse and Adia Victoria discussed their views on everything from a Southern reckoning to the brilliance of Sister Rosetta Tharpe; and “Her Country” where journalist Marissa R. Moss and Nashville singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt discussed how the women of country music became the success they were never supposed to be, and more.
For music lovers looking to party, there were plenty of small-venue concerts following the Labs with live music performances in various venues on Park City’s historic Main Street bringing artists of diverse backgrounds and genres together. Headliners included Darryl McDaniels of the hip hop group RUN-DMC, Americana rocker Anders Osborne and indie darling Father John Misty. Other performer included Celisse, Rising Appalachia, Gov’t Mule, Bonny Light Horseman, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Daniel Donato, Josh Ritter, Tré Burt and more.
Keeping recovery as top-of-mind guests attending the Park City Song Summit, the event provided a supportive environment that included sober green room space, guided yoga and meditations, access to Deer Valley’s hiking and biking trails, daily 12-step meetings and craft mocktails.
By Kinya Claiborne, STYLE & SOCIETY
Photo Credit: Brian Lima, Erika Goldring & Jay Blakesberg