Arts & Entertainment

Sundance parties, how DJ Spider creates unique guest experiences through music

PARK CITY, Utah— The Sundance Film Festival is well known for its movie premiers, as well as the lavish parties that follow. But few understand what goes into creating the high-energy atmosphere at those parties quite like DJ Spider.

Spider is no stranger to the Sundance Film Festival or Park City. He often DJs at local clubs during Park City’s off season, and has worked at the festival for the last 15 years.

This year, Spider provided the music for Sundance cast parties and Chase Sapphire cardmembers at Chase Sapphire on Main.

“There’s so many different types of people up there, I think the common thread is that everybody is just creative, and they’re trying to live out their dreams, and they’re trying to make something happen,” Spider said. “To be able to be up there providing the music for them and providing the party and the celebration… it’s so much fun.”

Every event Spider DJs is different. While he has enough experience to work a party on the fly, some events, such as the “Bad Behavior” cast party on January 21, require a little more preparation.

Spider often works with a film’s directors or sound coordinators in order to gauge their music preferences for a party, then gives the setlist his own unique spin.

“Most of the [“Bad Behavior”] cast and crew are from New Zealand, and they wanted me to highlight that, as well as have a party,” Spider said. “They gave me a playlist of what they liked, and I mixed that with my own knowledge and my own research of New Zealand-based artists that would be fun to play at a party.”

DJ Spider at Chase Sapphire on Main at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19, 2023. Photo: Jack Dempsey // Shutterstock

Spider then watches the crowd and adjusts the music according to their reaction.

“I think a good crowd is receptive to the music,” Spider said. “People that are just there to have a good time and aren’t feeling so worried about what they look like to the outside world.”

To aspiring DJs hoping to work at the Sundance Film Festival one day, Spider has a few words of advice.

“Try to physically come to the place that you want to be and experience it,” Spider said. “I feel like most every place I DJ I try to just go there and be part of it, because that’s the only way you’re going to fully experience what it’s like, and then when you get the opportunity to DJ you’ll know how to execute it properly.”

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