Park City Song Summit provides more than just music
While the Park City Song Summit is first and foremost about the music, for the founder of the festival, it’s also about wellness and inclusivity.
Song Summit founder Ben Anderson spent three decades as a trial lawyer. When he retired, he turned to his passion, music, and now it’s about being an activist for those who have been forgotten or just don’t have the same opportunity as others.
“That is having more women perform, providing more opportunity to have people from our communities of color, and more opportunity for people from our LGBTQI+ community,” Anderson said. “I am proud of that. I will stand on that. And I believe that it's something that we need to see more and more of at other events. If you look at our lineup, you will see that we don't just talk the talk, we try to walk the walk because it's not only an obligation I feel for myself, but it's a privilege to be able to do that. Because there's a lot of wonderful artists that over the years people haven't heard, because the lineups tend to be not something that's more inclusive.”
In addition to the diversity of music, it’s about providing a safe – and creative - place for those recovering from the holds of addiction and mental illness.
The summit is scheduled for Sept. 7 to Sept. 9 at Canyons Village.
One of the summit’s partners this year is 1 Million Strong, an impact initiative that seeks to transform the way people think about addiction and recovery. The goal is to help one million people access free recovery support by 2025 through the Phoenix, a free sober-active community, available nationwide.
“One of the biggest problems is that after people decide that they have the courage to change, whether that's to deal with mental health issues, or addiction, recovery issues, or whatever that particular challenge may be, and they go and they get the help they need,” Anderson said. “But then they're sort of released back out into the wild, if you will, and they don't have that support group they need and so there's a high rate of recidivism when it comes to, especially in the music industry, when it comes to mental health and addiction recovery. So, 1 Million Strong is trying to provide a, you know, soup to nuts, really, it's lifelong care for these people.”
In the last year, Anderson started his own foundation called More than Music which is one of the beneficiaries of any profits the summit earns.
“The goal there is to provide services for people that are challenged with underserved communities that maybe need music lessons, music instruments, we are here to be a voice for those that need mental health services,” Anderson said. “And really to let people know that they're not alone. Because isolation and addiction and isolation and mental illness go hand in hand. And so, we want to be there to connect people and to give them a community and also help provide resources for them.”
Tickets and the music and wellness schedule, including yoga, guided mediation recovery meetups and hikes, can be found here.
Editor's Note: The original story has been updated to correct 1 Million Strong's mission.