By Brittany Plothow
On Friday October 3rd, Provo Center Street shut down and filled with thousands of local music fans. Rooftop Concert Series is used to drawing a large and enthusiastic crowd, but Friday’s crowd was especially so.
Originally billed with Fictionist as the headliner to close the 2014 season, just days before the October 3rd concert Rooftop Concerts made a surprise announcement that Neon Trees would actually be the headliner, giving Provo a chance to see their darlings up close and personal for free.
Neon Trees is arguably the biggest music act to come out of Utah County since The Osmonds or The Used, with lead singer Tyler Glenn recently giving a beautifully honest and moving interview to Rolling Stone magazine. Having toured all over the world successfully, they still call Utah County home and give Provo much of the credit for their success.
Five years ago Rooftop Concert Series started as a free monthly show on the first Friday of every month spanning May to October on top of a parking structure in downtown Provo. Starring some of Provo’s most popular artists, it quickly began to draw in large crowds and became a staple of the city’s thriving music scene.
The team behind Rooftop Concert Series is Sarah Wiley, C. Jane Kendrick, Mindy Gledhill, and Justin Hackworth – some of Provo’s most recognizable creative minds – and is sponsored by many local businesses including Google Fiber and some of Center Street’s popular spots.
Friday’s anniversary show began with The Blue Aces, a band made up of four teenage girls who rock hard and put on a highly polished show. Next up came a Provo favorite, Fictionist, who was also celebrating the release of their new album and had copies available to sell to the public for the first time at the concert.
The crowd began to thicken as the time neared for surprise headliners, Neon Trees, to take the stage. Nearby parking structures housed the overflow of those who wanted a bird’s-eye view of the entire event. The crowd was filled with everything from groups of tweens to multi-generational families. The street began to pulse as the excitement built.
Neon Trees hit the stage in their usual fashion: bright colors, catchy hooks, and 80s-inspired everything. Tyler Glenn rocked his signature style of loud patterns and colors, taking over the stage with his infectious energy and spot-on vocals. The crowd responded with a wave of energy, dancing, singing, and crowd-surfing. Neon Trees played fan favorites from all three of their albums and talked about their love and appreciation of Provo’s support since their inception in the music clubs downtown. The mayor of Provo even gifted the band with individual keys to the city and declared October 3rd to be “Neon Trees Day” in Provo.
They closed the night with “First Things First,” which chronicles the origins of the band and Tyler Glenn’s journey to love and accept himself, and “Everybody Talks” – arguably their biggest hit to date.
In just five short years, Rooftop Concert Series has helped launch many successful artists, bring thousands of bodies into downtown Provo, and revive Center Street from a sleepy commuter street to a hip, thriving community. Here’s to many more successful years to come.