BYU undergrads book lineup for Utah’s first major summer music festival


BYU undergrads Thomas Clawson and Max Metcalf have created what they say is Utah’s first-ever major overnight music festival.

Goosenecks Festival is a two-day, two-night music festival planned for August 19-20 in Torrey, Utah. Event creators say it is modeled after other nationally known music festivals such as Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Coachella in California.

BYU undergrads Thomas Clawson and Max Metcalf stand in front of the property for their event, Goosenecks Festival. The summer music festival will be in Torrey, Utah. (Thomas Clawson)

Clawson, co-founder of Goosenecks Festival and a junior studying music business, said the event is turning into more than he and Metcalf could’ve hoped for. What began as an idea in early February has turned into a full-fledged event with support from high-profile names within the music industry.

Clawson and Metcalf met while serving as LDS missionaries in the Denmark, Copenhagen Mission. They brought Conner Ludlow, another missionary they served with, on board to help with their marketing and media relations. Ludlow is a junior applying to the marketing program this year.

“We were told we wouldn’t book bands unless we had credibility,” BYU junior studying math and Goosenecks co-founder Metcalf said. “This is our first festival, so we have no cred. We needed someone on our team who was in the industry.”

In late February, Goosenecks Festival co-founders reached out to Coulter Reynolds, younger brother to Imagine Dragons’ lead singer Dan Reynolds. Reynolds used his experience growing up in a family involved in the music industry to connect Metcalf and Clawson with big bands.

“Honestly, I didn’t know the guys, so I was really hesitant. But it’s a really good idea,” Reynolds said. “The concept is new; it’s in the middle of a farm and overnight. There’s nothing like it here.”

Venues need credibility before they can book nationally known bands, according to Reynolds. Reynolds was willing to use his credentials to develop Goosenecks Festival because he likes supporting the Utah music scene.

“It seemed like something that would help the community, and it’s a great way to get Utah on the music festival map,” Reynolds said. “I’m all about getting Utah more involved in things like this. The lineup is awesome, and people should come support local artists.”

Conner Ludlow
Young The Giant will headline Goosenecks Festival August 19-20 in Torrey, UT. (Conner Ludlow)

Young the Giant, Jukebox the Ghost and K.Flay are a few of the acts Metcalf is most excited about booked for the event. Ludlow said he’s excited they got indie electronic artist Stephen on the bill. There are also a number of Utah acts performing, including The Brocks, The National Parks, Jamesthemormon, Jenn Blosil and more.

Metcalf said he and Clawson came together with little to no experience in putting on an event like this. In order to be successful, the two sought advice from Rick Farman, founder of wildly successful music festivals Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.

“We were just so novice. It’s crazy to think about where we started,” Clawson said. “We knew so little and Rick taught us so much.”

In total, the plans for the festival came together in about a month and a half.

Their start-up costs came from an initial round of funding from friends and family, and a large source of their budget will be met by ticket sales.

Clawson said they are building hype for the event by trying to be different on social media.

Conner Ludlow
Metcalf and Clawson recently brought several photographers and videographers to the property to shoot promotional material.
Left to right: Max Metcalf, Austin Demordaunt, Thomas Clawsen, Brooke Alius, Christine Brothers, Ian Hawkes. (Max Metcalf)

“Social media is a great way to reach people, but it’s very saturated,” Clawson said. “This week we’re inviting several Instagrammers out to the property to take pictures and just have a good time.”

Their hope is that people will recognize the festival is something unique. They don’t want Goosenecks to be remembered for just being a massive party.

“We think Utah is a pretty great place, and we want to be able to enjoy music and celebrate nature and the national parks,” Ludlow said.

They also want to use Goosenecks as a way to help people participate in a yet-to-be specified service project.

“We’re going to have a lot of people gathered together in one place, at one time. We have a big opportunity to do good,” Metcalf said. “We want to be different than other music festivals because it’ll be centered around service.”

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