Park City Song Summit goes to the heart of creativity with five-day event featuring performances and discussions



Grammy-winning gospel music pioneer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples will be among the performers attending the Park City Song Summit.
Photo by Myriam Santos

Park City’s inaugural Song Summit will feature an array of performances, panel discussions and collaborations that will celebrate not only the art of writing and performance, but the creative process as well, founder and Parkite Ben said. Anderson.

“It’s something for music lovers, artists and audiences who want to connect on a deeper level and raise their voices,” said Anderson, bassist for Nashville-based jam group Aiko. “We will do this by presenting artist labs, which are symposia and question-and-answer sessions, much like TED talks or Aspen Institute panels. We get artists to talk about all types of creative arts and how they celebrate song, celebrate the creative process behind songs.

Festival passes and day tickets are now on sale for the event, which runs September 8-12, and can be purchased by visiting

Participating artists include Gary Clark Jr., Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Andrew Bird, Leslie Jordan, Iron & Wine, Tank and the Bangas, and Natalie Hemby.

The summit will take place at 15 venues with capacities ranging from 75 to 1,300 people, he said.

“We will be presenting artists in a variety of ways, from acoustic sets to full concerts,” Anderson said.

Anderson looks forward to the performances, but also the lab talks.

The Park City Song Summit is the brainchild of Park City musician Ben Anderson, bassist for the band Aiko. The goal of the 5-day event is to celebrate the art and power of creativity that changes the world, according to Anderson.
Photo by Angela Howard Photography

“What has always intrigued me is the power of song,” he said. “How can something that only lasts three minutes have the power to change people’s lives, and how can an artist take something – a good feeling, a painful part of life, an idea or seeing a sunset – proverbial ether and turn it into words and music that end up touching our hearts and right down to the depths of our souls? I love to hear stories about this process.

Some of the artists on the Park City Song Summit list only come to town to talk, not to perform, according to Anderson.

“Alison Mosshart from the Chills is just coming in to talk about her paintings and other things that are outside of music, and ‘Portlandia’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’ Fred Armisen will be there to stand up and talk about music. comedy and drumming and things like that, “he said.” It will be great for Rich Roll from The Rich Roll Podcast to interview Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White on how music is a powerful medium that inspires performance athletes They will also talk about the similarities between the pressures of being a performance athlete and being a musician and other artists.

Another non-musical artist will be rock photographer Jay Blakesberg, who will be doing two labs, Anderson said.

“One lab will be dedicated to his photography of the Grateful Dead, and the other to his 40 plus years of rock photography in general,” he said.

Speaking of Grateful Dead, the Park City Song Summit will feature a lab on Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

“Robert passed away last year,” Anderson said. “So this will be a great way to honor him and get artists to talk about how he inspired them.”

Anderson’s band, Aiko, is one of those bands inspired by the dead, and some of his favorite Robert Hunter songs are “Ripple” and “Comes a Time”.

“’Wharf Rat’ is also important to me, because of my personal journey through addiction and recovery,” he said. “There is such an inventory of the fabric of our emotions and our lives. “

In addition to the creative process, the labs will also focus on social issues such as fairness and racism, Anderson said.

“We want to overthrow the pyramid,” he said. “If we can shine a light on these things, expose them, discuss them, and bring a little love, then maybe we can make a difference somehow.”

Two of the big issues Anderson wants to address are racism and hatred towards the LGBTQ + community.

“It’s important to me because as a white heterosexual it’s a privilege, it’s embarrassing, shocking and disgusting to see what’s going on,” he said. “While I don’t think the hate will ever end in this world, we can certainly call it and call it what it is. We can show future generations that this is not fair and must be eradicated. “

Other lab discussions will focus on mental health and addiction, Anderson said.

“I no longer want to lose friends struggling with mental health and addiction issues in the music industry to suicide and overdoses,” he said. “I want to take advantage of this event to provide them with resources. We have local non-profit organizations in the mental health, suicide prevention and recovery community that are charitable partners. “

One thing Anderson wants to make clear is that the Park City Song Summit is not a festival.

“It’s the F word here, because it’s a different path that’s been well traveled,” he said. “Yeah, we stand on the shoulders of some of these types of events, but we’re doing something more than promoting a new album or a concert. What we do is use our voices. , our hearts, our intentions and our time to make a difference.


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