Matthew Fitt behind FICE got the crowd dancing. (Photo: Chay Mosqueda)

Neon Rodeo @ UMOCA, FICE, Beer Bar 09.09

Local Events

While house music conferences in Utah may be unexpected, Neon Rodeo is changing that. This new showcase celebrating house music, design and inclusivity drew large crowds of people from across the US to its creative conference at Utah Museum of Contemporary Arts (UMOCA) and its night of music across FICE Gallery and Beer Bar on Sept. 10. Neon Rodeo came about from an event called Neon Desert Exp. 1, created in collaboration with University of Utah’s Multi-Disciplinary Design Studio and the Frankie Knuckle’s Foundation. Neon Rodeo is a salute to going against the grain, being true to yourself and togetherness. 

The first few events on Saturday, Sept.10 were held at UMOCA in downtown Salt Lake City. UMOCA had an ongoing exhibit titled i know you are, but what am i? The exhibit went along with Neon Rodeo’s focus of being true to yourself, featuring artists exploring culture, body positivity, and identity. Before the panels started, Mo Reeder opened up by introducing Neon Rodeo and its purpose. Then three guests came on stage: Adam Maclean, founder of PostShame, State Senator Derek Kitchen and President/CEO of Utah’s Black Chamber of Commerce Sidni Lloyd Shorter. This panel of forward-thinking individuals and leaders of the community came together to share their experiences in life and their fight for social justice. The second panel, focusing on streetwear as an art form, consisted of SLUG’s own Angela Brown, footwear designer Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, FICE Gallery owner Corey Bullough and multi-disciplinary artist Gary Vlasic. The third panel included the CEO of Then What Inc., Grant Barth, University of Utah’s Multi-Disciplinary Design Director Cord Bowen, Intel Corporation Vice President Stacey Schulman and AREA51’s Josh Sugarman. Both the second and third panels spoke about creativity, collaboration and culture, giving insights into the creative community in Utah at large.

The house music started at 6 p.m. at FICE Gallery. With one stage inside and one stage behind the store front, the thumping of heavy bass boomed down the block. Beer Bar and Bar X opened up at 7 p.m. with a long line waiting to get into the bars, something rarely seen in Salt Lake City nightlife. Eddie Fowlkes, Manu and Tammy Lakkis had the crowd pumped and feeling their beats. Everyone was dancing, enjoying each other’s company and a sense of belonging was in the air. The scene was a mixed crowd, coming from all different backgrounds with everyone being welcome. The experience was certainly one for the books—hopefully we get to see Neon Rodeo’s ambition of becoming an annual tradition realized. View the full DJ lineup at

Chay Mosqueda //

See more of Chay Mosqueda’s work on SLUG:
Skate Photo Feature: Jerred Bradley
Collide Arts Festival @ Salt Lake School for Performing Arts 05.21