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Deer Valley concert attendance is down this summer

Concert goers wait in line as their bags are being checked to get into Deer Valley's Snow Park.
Concert-goers wait in line as their bags are checked to get into Deer Valley's Snow Park for a concert this month.

Deer Valley banned the BYOB scene at summer outdoor shows; now attendance has dropped amid some community frustration.

Deer Valley outdoor summer concerts are usually attended by thousands of Parkites and tourists each year. But this year, new policies laid out by Deer Valley prohibit alcoholic beverages from being brought in as well as unsealed bottles of any kind.

That combined with high prices for drinks on-site is keeping some who regularly attend the concerts away. Some are even are calling it a community boycott.

Brian Richards is the Executive Director of Mountain Town Music. It’s a local non-profit that partners with Deer Valley for Wednesday concerts, which are free. He said the new policy seems to be affecting attendance at the shows.

The lack of audience is also hitting him in the pocketbook.

“Attendance is down anywhere between 50 and 75 percent. And I would say my donations are down probably about 80 percent.”

Emily Summers, Senior Communications Manager for Deer Valley, says while Wednesday night concerts have seen a decrease in attendance, they are still drawing an estimated 1,000 people per show. She said they’re two weeks into the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley music festival schedule, and three out of the 12 have sold out.

Pinebrook resident Laura Francese says it’s not only the new policies that are keeping people away, but also the way they’re enforced. She said she’s not willing to go where people will search her bags.

“I mean, I think I would just end up going to Newpark, it seems like they're not super strict about…. I don't even know what their rules are at Newpark," she said. "But I just won't even bother going to Deer Valley or up to The Canyons. I don’t want to have my bags gone through. I mean, it's just ridiculous. You should be able to have a picnic like we've been able to have for years.”

If she does find herself at a concert that no longer allows outside alcohol, Francese has a few tricks up her sleeve to get around the new rules. One is a sports bra with a hidden flask pouch.

“Well, it just has like a bladder that goes in the front part of the bra," she said. "It's like a sports bra. And then it's just as like a tube that comes out the side so you can drink out of it. I'm sure it's not very conspicuous, but I thought it was hilarious.”

There are two Wednesday concerts left at Deer Valley this summer. July 13th and July 20th. Attendance is free. Gates open at 4pm.