PARK CITY, Utah. – Ben Anderson doesn’t want you to think Stagecoach, Lollapalooza, or Bonnaroo when you think of the Park City Song Summit (PCSS). Founder Anderson steers PCSS to a more mindful, inclusive place. From September 7 to 10, the multi-day cultural and musical experience provides space for open conversations about all things music and songwriting. Tickets are available to the public on Friday, June 3.
“We don’t use the word ‘festival’ because we are not a festival the way it is now being defined,” said Anderson. “Park City Song Summit is a way to celebrate the power and myth of song through conversations and interactions between artists and audience. Our great differentiator between Song Summit and a traditional music festival is our conversations centered around the universal language of music.”
The summit has four main components: the Summit Labs, early live shows, late live shows, and the Songwriter Rounds. Events and shows will occur at three tents on Deer Valley Resort, The Cabin, The Marquee (formerly Park City Live), and surprise locations on Main Street.
Song Summit days will start off at the lodges with morning meditation and yoga, a 12-Step meeting space, and access to Deer Valley’s hiking and biking trails.
PCSS offers two levels of passes, the Summit Pass and the Summit+ Pass, and a la carte tickets. The Summit Pass grants access to one of over 30 Summit Labs and a ticket to get into the early live shows, first dibs for late live shows, and songwriter rounds. The Summit+ Pass includes a Wednesday night kickoff at Blue Sky Ranch, everything included in the Summit Pass, and special seating for the early live shows.
The kickoff event includes transportation, appetizers, a four-course meal, and a private performance by Adia Victoria and Jason Isbell. The evening is also a platform for PCSS to highlight its charity partners, including Communities That Care, Summit County Clubhouse, Jewish Family Service, Michael Richards Memorial Fund, and others.
The Summit Labs is the heart and soul of the weekend and where Anderson’s passion comes to life and where the Park City Song Summit goes beyond love for music to human connection. Podcasters, artists, musicians, producers, and experts join forces to discuss topics from favorite songs, inspirations, mental health, sexuality, addiction, and social equity.
“Through [the Labs], we hope these conversations will help illuminate and provide a voice for those among us who are challenged with trauma, addiction, mental health issues,” said Anderson. “Let’s hear from people who are the most affected by it and how, through song, they are able to meet those challenges, overcome those challenges, address those challenges head-on. This is a place where artists and audience are going to meet and explore the full spectrum of songcraft.”
The idea for PCSS arose when Anderson and friend and musician Anders Osborne were discussing what a great setting Park City would be to foster community through a musical outlet. Anderson’s wife Paige also posited that there were multi-day festivals like Sundance, but nothing that revolved around music.
Anderson’s father was a gospel recording artist and he quite literally grew up surrounded by music. In college, Anderson “spent more time on stage than I did in class.” Then in law school, he split time between classes and following the Grateful Dead on tour. He also founded the jam band AIKO in 1984.
“I’m 15 years in recovery. I’m a lifelong musician. I was a 30-year trial lawyer, and I retired. PCSS is a way for me to make an event about more than just music, but rather the human experience. We want to help in some way. Provide clarity and normalcy to these challenges of mental health, addiction, and trauma, as well as social equity and inclusivity. I think if we put our heart there and use the platform of song and music, then we might just have something that doesn’t currently exist.”
Gov’t Mule, Andrew Bird, Fred Armisen, Father John Misty, and Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel are just a few recognizable performers to join the fun.
Anderson, Director of Business Operations Julia Rametta, and Director of Event Operations Julia Stout hope that our town will be a respite for artists (with the opportunity to be in-residence), their families, managers, and crews an event to look forward to each year.
“I’m 100% 24/7 devoted to making this something super special for decades to come, long after this old hillbilly’s tasting dirt. I want this to go on as something that can be truly something different that people look forward to…. If we have love, empathy, kindness, forgiveness, and openness to who others are, we might be able to make this a little more of a little bit better world to live in.”