Ogden Is for Lovers. Music Lovers.
Summer Music Scene
Ogden likes its music like it likes its downtown — unpretentious. The “music scene” isn’t a place where people go to be “seen.” It’s all about the music.
With the number of music festivals and events Ogden hosts each summer, and the scenic backdrops in this section of the Wasatch Mountains, Ogden is becoming the place to be for music lovers. Here are a few of the city’s music events worth attending.
Snowbasin’s Blues, Brews & BBQ
“I go to get out of the city,” says Ogden resident Bret Weston of Snowbasin’s Blues, Brews & BBQ music festival. “It’s nice to cool off and hang out with the family.” The Westons’ spot is about two-thirds of the way up the grassy hill to the left of the stage at Earl’s Lodge. They’re the ones with four young kids, a football, a refillable beer mug and a labradoodle. “The atmosphere is awesome,” he says. “They have a really good beer selection, and they always have pretty good bands.”
A couple thousand people, and almost as many dogs, relax on blankets and chairs out on the lawn to listen to a lineup of two to four bands play each Sunday afternoon. Past performers include popular bands like The Flobots and Los Lobos. Beer tents line the sidewalks next to Earl’s Lodge where attendees can grab some barbecue to eat while enjoying the bands. Many combine the weekly event with a hike or mountain bike ride on the trails near Snowbasin. The cool temperatures and clean air are a much-needed break from the valley’s summer heat and inversion. The calming forces at Snowbasin combine to create an idyllic afternoon of music consumption.
When: Sundays noon to 5:30 p.m. from June through September
Where: Earl’s Lodge, Snowbasin
Ogden Twilight Concert Series
As Salt Lake’s popular Twilight Series began scaling back due to high costs, Ogden started its own downtown music series, attracting major bands from around the country. Sold-out performances like The Shins and Sylvan Esso draw crowds of nearly 7,000 from across the valley, bolstering business for the restaurants and bars around the downtown Ogden Amphitheater.
The balance of finding beloved bands willing to play in a small market is a daunting task. Ogden is lucky to have residents like Ogden Twilight Concert founder Jared Allen, who are passionate enough to take on the job. “We’re little fish and a little market in the music world,” Allen says, “and it’s really hard to get the attention of these artists and get them here at a price point that allows for the inexpensive tickets.”
Ogden City invested in the amphitheater in 2017, adding shade canopies and upgrading the sound system. Add the food and drink selection from local vendors and $10 tickets for national acts that usually charge $30 or more and Twilight is a must for music lovers in the area.
When: June through August
Where: Ogden Amphitheater
Cost: $10 (your ticket doubles as a pass for the night on FrontRunner, TRAX or a UTA bus)
Ogden Music Festival
The Ogden Music Festival, organized by Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music, is a true, multiday music festival in the vein of Woodstock or Coachella. The festival includes three days of performers — typically bluegrass, blues and country — and the option to camp onsite. It all takes place at Fort Buenaventura, Utah’s oldest settlement and home of former trappers and missionaries in Ogden’s Wild West days. It’s an intimate setting and festival, but the headliner in 2019 is gospel and rhythm and blues legend Mavis Staples.
Fort Buenaventura is an 84-acre forested oasis, so peaceful it’s hard to believe you’re only a short walk from downtown Ogden. The Ogden River flows through the park, giving life to the small forested valley, and walking and bike paths surround the festival stage. A canopy of old-growth trees shelters the site. Attendees wander in and out of the campground, stringing up hammocks near the stage, grabbing a drink or bite to eat from one of the many food booths.
Volunteers are stationed around the family friendly event, answering questions and helping people find water and bathrooms. Kids under 16 attend free.
When: Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 2
Where: Fort Buenaventura Park
Cost: $40 for a one-day festival pass and up to $110 for a three-day pass with camping
Peery’s Egyptian Theater Concert Series
The historic Peery’s Egyptian Theater offers a free Monday concert series. It’s the only indoor series on this list, but the Egyptian temple-inspired theater, built in 1924, gives every performance a little character (and the air conditioning can be welcome in the summer heat). The series primarily features local Utah performers.
When: Monday evenings
Where: Peery’s Egyptian Theater