Grid City Music Fest: A Celebration of South Salt Lake City
If you live in Salt Lake City and have ever made the trek to Winco on 2193 S. Main, you might not have realized it, but you actually crossed into a completely different municipality: South Salt Lake City, the location of this year’s Grid City Music Fest (GCMF) taking place Aug. 25–26. It may seem like a sleeper city to the Utah newbie, but South Salt Lake is filled with vibrant business and a few notable restaurants, including Donuts and Deli (which Yelp named one of the top 100 donut shops in America), Pat’s BBQ (as featured on season 5 of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), Chinatown Supermarket (which just opened an 85°C Bakery) and not to mention some pretty great vintage signs.
Drew Reynolds, Co-Founder of Grid City Beer Works, seeks to bring awareness to the area with GCMF. The festival’s mission is to proudly celebrate “the Zone” neighborhood of the City of South Salt Lake, which boasts 35 murals, seven breweries/distilleries, 50+ creative businesses (including Workshop SLC, Sugar Post, the Bicycle Collective and Full Collective Media, to name a few), as well as its own mayor and a robust Arts Council.
Grid City Beer Works was slated to open on March 19, 2020, but the pandemic forced Grid City to delay their opening to June of that year, with limited, social-distanced eating and drinking. Co-Founders Reynolds, Justin Belliveauhad and Brewmaster Jeremy Gross had always intended for their brewpub to be a space for live music and events, which they were finally able to actualize with the first Grid City Music Fest in 2022. That first installment was a pop-up music series that took place at the Commonwealth Room over the course of three weekends.
This weekend, Aug. 25–26, GCMF will expand their footprint to encapsulate more of the Creative Industry Zone, with seven stages spanning six blocks between 2100 South and 2700 South. The two-day event has a lineup of 30 local bands, with each night culminating in an after party at the Commonwealth Room. There will also be a free punk show (feat. Endless Struggle and All Systems Fail) on Friday night (Aug. 25) at Salt Fire Brewing Co. starting at midnight and a drag show (feat. Veronika DaVil and Izzy Lovely) at the same venue on Saturday (Aug. 26) at 9 p.m.
You can find a schedule of the music line up on the GCMF website, and the stages will be located at Grid City Beer Works, Level Crossing Brewing Co, Pat’s BBQ on Commonwealth, the outdoor area shared by Old Cuss Cafe and Chappel Brewing and at Beehive Distillery. If you get your event passport stamped at four of the festival stages, you will get a free commemorative glass at the Commonwealth Room. In addition to live music, fest-goers can enjoy food and artisan vendors, a bike valet (starting at 7 p.m. at the Commonwealth Room), as well as a pop-up bike shop provided by Level 9 on Main Street just south of the South Salt Lake S-Line Trax stop.
With the exception of the after parties at the Commonwealth Room, all festival events are free, and you can travel from stage to stage on the Fun Bus. The City of South Salt Lake lent GCMF this fleet, which will make its debut at this event (the bus will make a return visit for other South Salt Lake events including Mural Fest and Craftoberfest). Half of the 52 murals in South Salt Lake can be viewed on the Fun Bus route. The bus will run every five minutes between 12–8 p.m. on Friday and between 2—6 p.m. on Saturday. Complimentary bus passes can be acquired here.
Grid City Music Fest will be donating a portion of their profits to the Salt Lake Academy of Music (SLAM). In addition to this, a silent auction at the festival after party will raise money for SLAM, an organization that seeks to ensure that youth have the opportunity to explore and develop their passion for music by providing inclusive and equitable access to instruments, lessons, performance, recording and touring programs—all on a free-to-fee sliding scale. The SLAM Festival Band will be performing at the Pat’s BBQ stage at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 26) during the festival.
Reynolds and his collaborators hope to show the larger community that there are exciting events happening south of 2100 South. He feels that is the border where Salt Lakers get stuck, and he wants to encourage folks to come and experience the industrial creativity that South Salt Lake has to offer. “Our mission is twofold: to show people that there’s fun stuff going on south of 2100 South and to show that [the Salt Lake Valley] is such a unique place. No one really parties like us,” Reynolds says. “We’re so good at partying in the mountains. We don’t late-night party and we don’t care. We don’t have to.”
To check out the Grid City Music Fest line up and buy after party tickets, head over to their website, or just head over there in person this weekend, since South Salt Lake is really not that far away.
Find more on organizations mentioned in this piece:
SLUG Soundwaves Episode #404 – Endless Struggle
Grid City Beer Works: Taste, Balance and Finish in Motion