By Mike Romero
The Utah Music Association was founded in 2012 by Tyler Monks and Jonathan Kvarfordt to “foster the talent that exists in Utah and bring it national attention.” Hundreds of hours have been spent building the Utah Music Association, and its launch party was attended by some of the most influential music professionals in the state. The Timpanogos Music Festival was the UMA’s first attempt at bringing Utah music to the masses. It successfully debuted in 2015, featuring 30 acts, 3 stages, 10 food trucks and between 2500 to 3000 attendees. A free community event funded by the Orem City Cultural Arts and Recreation Enrichment Program, it broke even and opened doors for the future.
“Orem City has been a huge support and we couldn’t have done Timpanogos 2015 without them,” Monks told Reach Provo. “They were so gracious and supportive with police, fire, and the venue at Mt. Timpanogos Park. They even paid for the full production with stage/lights/sound with the CARE grant program. Everyone really came together to support local music. There is a lot of talent to support so it’s not hard to get behind the local musicians. We hope they will still be involved this year to support us with our local musicians and local stages.”
Monks says that the success of last year brought several challenges and concerns forward when they began planning for 2016. “The biggest concern was our venue size and location. We felt we had basically maxed out our space with regards to parking and bodies. You can only fit so many cars and so many people at Mt. Timpanogos Park. People ended up parking across the highway and running across the highway which terrified me.” Consequently, this year’s festival has been moved to Brent Brown Ballpark at Utah Valley University to provide more space, parking, and a safer environment. The park has a maximum capacity of 15,000, and made the most sense for an event with an estimated attendance of 5000 to 10,000 people.
Another issue was figuring out a way to make the festival sustainable. “Last September, I started evaluating the sustainability of the festival if we only hosted local bands and only relied on grants and sponsorship to fund the event,” Monks says. “I envisioned many years of charity work on my part and a limit to the musician base I could pull from year after year.” He says infusing the festival with national talent was the only way to make the festival a profitable, scalable enterprise. Welcoming national acts also gives local artists opportunity to network and grow.
Just this past weekend, the Timpanogos Music Festival announced its 2016 lineup, which features major acts like Silversun Pickups, Zella Day, Grizfolk, The Moth & the Flame, and monarch; former American Idol contestants James the VIII and Bri Ray; and recognizable local names like John Allred, RKDN, BRUMBY, Haarlem, Sego, Former Tides, OKKAH, and Spirit City. With sponsors like ALT 101.9, Wicked Audio, and Shakalaka Events, the Timpanogos Music Festival is looking to be bigger and better than last year.
Concerning how ALT 101.9 came to be involved in the festival, Monks says, “I knew that if we wanted to bring 5,000-10,000 people out to the festival, we were going to need radio. I prepared a sponsorship deck and sent it to Chet Tapp at ALT 101.9. He got back to me almost immediately and loved the idea. We didn’t even have a band booked yet but they were totally on board. We had a meeting and they became our exclusive radio partner.” The station will be giving away 500 tickets to the festival over the summer.
Artists will perform at scheduled times across four different stages. In addition to the musical performances, there will be tribal face painting, food trucks, a DJ, and free bike valet and tune-ups courtesy of Mad Dog Cycles.
Monks says that in five to ten years, he would like to see Timpanogos Music Festival grow to 20,000-30,000 people, with people from all over the country coming to enjoy Utah’s talent and geography. “People love fresh new music discovery. It’s a badge of honor to find a band before everyone else did. I get a kick out of telling people the story about how my roommate in LA used to borrow bus money to get to his job at Starbucks. He now is the guitar player in one of the biggest bands in the world – OneRepublic. Many kids from Utah share the same excitement when talking about Imagine Dragons or Neon Trees.”
The festival is set to take place on Saturday, August 27th at UVU’s Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, UT. Tickets range from $10.19 to $100. They are available via SmithsTix here. “This change to a hybrid mix of local and national talent will create sustainability and growth potential for the festival. We’ve curated an epic mix of artists and we think the festival lineup will really resonate with the local music community. It’s something we want to continue for many years and these changes will provide us with that opportunity.”
Make sure to like Timpanogos Music Festival on Facebook for updates on the event, and get familiar with RKDN by listening to their song, “Silver,” below. Grammy Award-winning producer Timbaland recently gave them a shoutout when they performed in LA.