Utah nonprofit concert series surpasses 1,000 concerts thanks in part to pandemic pivot

Dec 2, 2021, 11:07 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah concert series has surpassed a significant milestone, recently topping 1,000 concerts all-time following a notable pivot from the organization that runs it.

When the rapid spread of COVID-19 began last year to shutter numerous concerts, games and other live events, organizers of the nonprofit Excellence in the Community Concert Series were faced with some difficult realities and decisions.

“The musicians needed work, the musicians needed compensation and the public was traumatized,” said founder and managing director Jeff Whiteley. “We saw trouble coming and so we worked up a ‘plan B.’ We mapped out if we could keep a very safe, hygienically-clean venue and just let the crew and the artists in, could we continue doing concerts? And the Gallivan Center said yes.”

The series became a live stream and since that time the organization has streamed roughly 170 concerts to date, garnering 13.8 million views from around the world.

“The concerts were so successful as a live stream,” Whiteley said.

More recently the series has returned to its roots with an in-person audience while continuing to be streamed live.

“We’re trying to juggle both of those now,” Whiteley chuckled. “We think it’s a great light on Salt Lake City.”

On Wednesday night, Grammy-nominated performer and recording artist Jenny Oaks Baker took to the stage at the Gallivan Center.

Additional concerts were scheduled in the coming days.

“It’s a lot of work,” Whiteley said. “The secret is we love what we do and it doesn’t feel like work.”

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Utah nonprofit concert series surpasses 1,000 concerts thanks in part to pandemic pivot