Cruisin’ Around Town With S&S Concert Cruises
The days are getting warmer, the pollen has been flowing about and the return of the S&S Concert Cruises has arrived. The S&S Concert Cruises are minishows where concertgoers bike to different locations to watch local artists perform around the city. S&S Director of Revenue Nic Smith books the local bands, organizes the ticketing and biking groups and responds to those emails people send an hour before the show starts with last-minute questions. “We are reliant on all participants to make this possible, and we have been both impressed and overjoyed with how the community has come together to help us realize this unique experience,” he says. As a previous participant of these events, I do recall responding to an email about feedback/improvement when the cruises first kicked off last year.
The local businesses who opened up their parking lots for use, local musicians, S&S staff and GREENbike helped start up the concert cruises last May when the devastating hit of COVID-19 rocked the local music community. ”It also reminded us that having an active local music community is fragile and not a given thing,“ Smith says. S&S has their mission set on providing a safe, outdoor experience for local artists and music lovers to connect during this pandemic. Now imagine: A parking lot at a local business, 6–10 feet away from musicians and other groups, feeling the summer breeze on your cheeks and jamming out to some good music.
“We have been both impressed and overjoyed with how the community has come together to help us realize this unique experience.”
Each cruise splits attendees up into two groups and has concertgoers bike between five different venues, all a little less than a mile apart from each other, with one different local musician at each one. It’s a spontaneous experience, as riders don’t know what venue they’ll start off or head to next until receiving a confirmation email. Through the concert cruise, participants get to see more of Salt Lake City and what makes Downtown, Downtown. “Finding a way to connect with local artists in your community of any medium is a rejuvenating, inspiring feeling,” Smith says. Worry not over those COVID-19 fears, because tickets are sold in a limited capacity, everyone is spaced out, hand sanitizer, water and a staff member can be found at all stations, and they will make sure that everyone has their masks on when watching the show. This has been a method that has worked great for them at their events thus far.
I say “worry not” because S&S has been long preparing for a transition back to normalcy with a target date of July 1, 2021. This is an incredible feeling for the company. They kicked off an S&S / Kilby Court Fundraiser when the pandemic first started, and despite how lucky they felt that so many people donated, this only did so much until state grants were made available. There have been various Kilby Benefit Shows and socially distanced, masked and seated shows at Urban Lounge and Metro Music Hall which have kept them busy. “All this combined, we count ourselves as incredibly fortunate to have survived this storm, but even still, our current situation is not sustainable,” Smith says. It’s safe to say that everyone is looking forward to getting the ball rolling so that S&S is able to fully open the doors to each of their venues again.
“Finding a way to connect with local artists in your community of any medium is a rejuvenating, inspiring feeling.”
If you’re looking to attend a concert cruise, Smith advises, ”When choosing your route, look up the bands who are listed on Spotify or Bandcamp before choosing your tickets.” This year’s schedule is looking like cover nights will be the staple, with The Beatles Tribute already passed, David Bowie Tribute on May 8, Rolling Stones Tribute on June 12 and a Best of Cruise on Aug 14. Smith suggests packing a little sunscreen, a water bottle and a helmet too.
If you missed out on the first show, be sure to catch the upcoming shows because you will regret it if you don’t. I say that with all my heart. These cruises have been liberating (scorching hot) and memorable for me, and knowing you’re supporting local bands and businesses is satisfying. “The Concert Cruises are truly a labor of love, and we hope that the people attending feel that sense of connection again while also being protected from COVID concerns,” Smith says. I had the time of my life when I biked last summer, and I believe anyone interested should attend one.
Utah’s local bands are great—their original music is amazing, so be sure to listen to them, and they’re great on cover nights too. Cera Gibson, Drusky, Major Tom, Marny Proudfit, Mitokandrea, Nicholas James, Static Replica and The Proper Way have participated in the cruises so far, so go out riding and support them! Grab your tickets and double-check those routes. You can find S&S on Instagram at @sartainandsaunders, and check out all the music events going on at sartainandsaunders.com. Don’t forget that sunscreen, mask up, drink plenty of water and get ready to rumble on the S&S Concert Cruises!