Salt Lake City’s dance music scene rapidly grows

Griz during his September performance at SKY Nightclub in Salt Lake City. The rise of EDM music is hitting Salt Lake City’s music scene, as more people attend these concerts. (Alex Bertha)

The popularity of electronic dance music (EDM) has been steadily growing since the early 1980s, selling out events all over the U.S. with attendance numbers pushing over 100,000 for single-day events.

Some question whether the industry can keep skyrocketing. In a recent Forbes article, reporter Natalie Robehmed wrote the EDM scene is only growing slightly, with a 2.5 percent increase in revenue from 2014 to 2015.

Low sales and small venues nationwide may cause a “forthcoming drop” in this scene. Robehmed writes, “Until more of these live events start making money, audiences should brace themselves for fewer outings.”

But Salt Lake City has been keeping this music alive with the help of venues like Park City Live, SKY Nightclub and promoters such as V2 Presents.

Park City Live and SKY Nightclub, which opened earlier this year, have been bringing in big DJ’s like Porter Robinson and Galantis and are selling out shows. Sponsored by V2 Presents, SKY Nightclub holds a weekly event called “Therapy Thursdays,” bringing DJ’s into a much more intimate venue for everyone to enjoy.

V2 Presents has been promoting events in Salt Lake City and its surrounding cities since 2005, creating multiple day festivals such as Get Freaky, their annual Halloween dance/music event happening Oct. 23 and 24.

Events like these draw groups from all over Utah and have growing attendance every year. This year’s Das Energy Festival is sold out at the Saltair.

“I remember a few years ago being lucky to see a big name every few months,” said EDM enthusiast and BYU student Chase Weaver. “But now there are popular DJ’s playing shows every few weeks. It shows a growing interest in EDM in Salt Lake and makes me excited for the future. It’s great because a ton of big names are coming for Therapy Thursday’s that I wouldn’t expect to come to Salt Lake.”

Electro-funk artist Griz performed at SKY Nightclub in September, and many students and fans attended.

“It was super packed but SKY has the best layout of the venues in Salt Lake,” said BYU student Alex Bertha, who attended the Griz performance. “It has enough space for those who want to relax and enjoy, but (on) the main floor everyone is dancing.”

With the growth of EDM in Salt Lake City, BYU students who DJ, such as Kyle Robison, feel that the scene provides an opportunity for them to showcase their skills and music.

Griz performs at SKY Nightclub in Salt Lake City. More fans of EDM, or electronic dance music, are flocking to Salt Lake City to get a taste of this music atmosphere that’s rising in popularity. (Alex Bertha)

“Through doing gigs at reputable venues, you begin to become connected with people that have significant influence in the music industry,” Robison said. “Through these connections, you begin to expand your network to the point where you eventually meet individuals that provide channels for further exposure, such as radio appearances and opening for big-name DJs.”

Although these gigs don’t initially provide a ton of exposure, Robinson said they have a ripple effect that eventually leads to getting noticed.

Kaskade is one of the artists that used the growing EDM scene to gain massive popularity, getting his start in Salt Lake City during his attendance at BYU and University of Utah. Kaskade recently returned to Provo for a question and answer session and performance during Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series.

The EDM scene in Salt Lake City will allow many students and DJ’s alike to showcase their talents with the assistance of promoters like V2 Presents and venues like Park City Live and Sky Nightclub.


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