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South Valley Journal

Creating culture: Bluffdale’s Music and Art Festival

Aug 01, 2018 10:33AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Nate Anderson performing with the spotlight off. (Brett Jay Apgood/City Journals)

By Brett Jay Apgood | [email protected]

“As we look through the history of the entire world, we have never been able to find a civilization of mankind that didn’t have music as an integral part of their culture,” Nate Anderson said.

Anderson was a volunteer for the Bluffdale Art Council at its annual Music and Art Festival on June 22 and 23. The festival allows Bluffdale residents and members of surrounding cities an opportunity to come share their talents and express themselves through art.

Originally conceived as a free concert in the park, the annual festival was tailored into a night where anyone—not just professional musicians—can have a chance to perform in front of an audience.

The idea to modify the original idea came from the observation that kids in middle school did not have the opportunity to perform for crowds like the high school students have with “Battle of the Bands.”

“It was important for us to give the youth opportunity,” said Marianne Dunn, an arts council board member.

This year’s festival was split into two days: the first was an “Open Mic Night,” which allowed participants whose music leaned toward an acoustic sound, while the second day allowed for participants to play with an entire band, along with an allotted drum off time.

The musicians are not allowed to have a backtrack but are encouraged to be accompanied by instruments.

Participants can cover pre-existing songs, perform their own original songs, or even perform a mixture of both.

“People can come, try things out see what impact it has on other people and develop humanity while they’re at it,” Anderson said.

Along with music, the festival has also introduced an art show, where people of any age can share their work. This year, artists displayed ceramics, photography and many other media.

The festival was created about five years ago and has continued to grow and improve, especially after shifting toward marketing through social media.

“When we first started, I think we had five bands split into two categories,” Dunn said.

The first day of this year’s festival featured acts consistently playing through a three-hour period.

As well as consistent growth, the quality of the festival has also improved, event organizers said. After the first year, BlackBear Productions has volunteered to run the audio.

The festival has also gained support from other volunteers such as Anderson, who already had a music career going. He saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community and share something he loves.

“I was in a place where I wanted to give back and open up some opportunities for younger musicians,” he said.

As the festival progresses the Art Council hopes to expand and include more participants especially adult performers.

“We would love to have adults come and share their talents with the kids,” Dunn said.

Along with providing musicians a chance to perform, the festival also strives to create an opportunity for members of the community to have a free night out, to come relax and to listen to live music.

“We have a great time,” Anderson said. “Come on out, throw a blanket on the grass and enjoy some wonderful music that is really heartfelt and sincere.”