Utah Arts Festival
Buckt List—Art and fun are everywhere in Utah. Go get you some.
Take in a concert at Red Butte
When it comes to outdoor concerts, Utah leads the world with bucolic venues that include Deer Valley and Canyons ski resorts. The very best is Red Butte Amphitheater in the Salt Lake foothills, trapped between mountain alpenglow and the sunset in the west. BYOB and food has never been so good. 300 Wakara Way, SLC, 801-581-4747, redbuttegarden.org
Attend the Utah Arts Festival
We've got friends who plan their vacations based on the Utah Arts Festival, because it marks the kick-off of Utah's summer. The sprawling fest packs 100,000 people into the combined grounds of Library Square and the the City-County Building for art, sizzling music acts, food, dudes on stilts, beer and, well, 100,000 people. Utah Arts Festival, June 20-23, Library Square, SLC, uaf.org
Visit the Natural History Museum
Finally, a museum for people of all ages who hate museums. The Natural History Museum of Utah beautifully blends in with its environment while housing 1.2 million objects (20,000 specimens of mollusks alone!). And the interior design and sweeping views of the valley and Wasatch Mountains will knock your socks off. 301 Wakara Way, SLC, 801-581-6927, nhmu.utah.edu
Take a Rock Art Tour
Before Sen. Chris Buttars and Gayle Ruzicka—before even Frank Layton—another breed of "old ones" wrote the headlines in Utah. Known as the Anasazi and Fremont, these residents were the first graffiti artists. These hooligans scratched and smeared at least 7,500 petroglyphs and pictographs around the state. You can hire a guide or hunt them down on your own (discovermoab.com). Rock art is extremely fragile, so DON'T TOUCH.
Listen to the MoTabs and the amazing pin drop
Even though, contrary to legend, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir never recorded "Louie, Louie," they are still awesome in any sense of the word. Before you check out you've got to hear the MoTabs get down on Temple Square. Almost as important is to tour the Salt Lake Tabernacle and hear the pin hit the floor, demonstrating the egg-shaped building's preternatural acoustics. mormontabernaclechoir.org
Go to Living Traditions Festival
Utah has a not-altogether-unfair rap for being a vanilla, or, at best, vaguely beige, community. As a result, Utahns from the fringes of color and ethnicity tend to close ranks to protect and pass on their cultural heritages. Once a year, Latinos, Greeks, Jews, Serbs, etc. swirl around the City-County Building in an explosion of color, flavor, music and motion. With a pljeskavica and a beer in hand, learn how to toss a bocce ball—all to the sound of North African bazeen music. May 17-19. slcgov.com/arts/ltf
See the Capitol
Need proof life isn't fair? The Legislature, Utah's most infamous mob of Philistines and boobs, hold their conclave in the state's most magnificent building. Built in 1916 and lovingly restored in 2008, the Utah Capitol uses natural light to make its marble halls dazzle as they lead you to its epic murals of Utah history. 350 N. State Street, SLC, 801-538-1800, utahstatecapitol.utah.gov
See a Sundance Film at the Egyptian
The world's best known launching pad for alt film is the Egyptian Theatre in Park City which has launched a dozen classics during Sundance Film Fest, including Clerks, Reservoir Dogs, and Reality Bites. If you want to call yourself a real Utahn or establish your film-geek bonafides, catch a flick at the Egyptian. 328 Main St., Park City, 435-649-9371, sundance.org
Attend Saturday's Voyeur
Call it Utah Weirdness 101. Immigrants to Zion wanting to understand what they've gotten themselves into are encouraged to see Voyeur. You'll learn about our "dominant culture," the Legislature's byzantine politics and what passes for celebrity here—all while sipping booze. June 26–Sept. 1, Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, SLC, 801·363- 7522, saltlakeactingcompany.org
WEB EXTRA: Click here for our video profile of Saturday's Voyeur.
Dan Nailen—Nobody knows concerts better or goes to more than Salt Lake magazine's music editor Dan Nailen, who believes that boots on the ground is the only way to experience music. You'll see his hemp cowboy hat a nearly every Red Butte Concert. If it's not there, maybe you shouldn't be either.
Get the gear—A canyon concert is life-altering. But to be a player, you've got to get the gear.
Clockwise from top:
Best solar protection unit. 100 percent hemp—what more can we say? Blue Boutique, blueboutique.com
Best ice bucket. Best bucket, period. Bring a "rootsy" flair to your bubbly. IFA Country Stores, ifa-coop.com
Best cooler. Besides insulating beverages, this baby has wheels, sturdy handles and cup holders. Kirkhams, kirkhams.com
Best Beast of Burden (garden cart) Short of a helicopter or a HUMVEE, this cart is the best way to haul this insane amount of gear into the Butte. Ace Hardware, acehardware.com
Best seat in the house. It's got to be light and foldable, but also low so as not to block the folks behind you. (Sheesh. Why don't they stand up and rock out like everyone else?) REI, rei.com
Best ground cover. Part of the Red Butte experience are the touches of class. Such as this gingham spread from Sur La Table. surlatable.com
Best hip flask. Why risk your booze to fragile bottles or flavor-killing plastic? Go hip (in every sense of the word) with a flask from O.C. Tanner. octanner.com
Best pre-fab concert chow. Make Red Butte a complete experience by picking up a Bistro Meal in a box—tarragon chicken, curry chicken or grilled chicken breast salads (David Byrne), fried chicken (John Prine) or a hefty deli sandwich with a side of potato salad, a brownie and a pack of coffin nails (Merle Haggard). Pinon Market and Cafe, pinonmarket.com
Best cork screw. Ergonomically perfected to pull the most stubborn cork. And the foil knife will slice cheese in a pinch. Sur la Table, surlatable.com
Best table. Telescopes from a coffee table to a serviceable bar and is stable enough to slice, dice and do that mixology thing. REI, rei.com
Best knife. Sharp, durable and in reggae colors. Sur la Table, surlatable.com
Best Cutting Board. Bamboo and almost pocket sized. Sur la Table, surlatable.com
Best wine delivery units. Light and indest ructible and no shards under dancing feet. REI, rei.com
Best Beer Goggles. Is Willie Nelson really that wrinkly? Does that dude's tattoo really say "I love Popeye?" You'll need sharp, beer-proof binoculars to appreciate the Red Butte scene. Wild About Birds, Layton. wildaboutbirdsnaturecenter.com
Folding camp chair, $45–$100, REI; nesting containers, platter, cutting board, knife and table cloth, $16–$40, Sur la Table; Swiss Army Knife, $30–$60, Kirkhams; Best bucket, $6–$10, IFA Farm Stores; straw hats, $15-$80, REI; aluminum folding table, $80, REI; collapsible cooler, $40–$50, REI; Rolling ice chest, $50–$100, Kirkhams; cork screw, $25–$50, Sur la Table; binoculars, $80–$200, Wild About Birds Nature Center; garden cart, $120, Ace Hardware; box concert dinners, $10–$15, Pinion Market and Cafe; hip flask, $45–$150, O.C.Tanner; stainless wine goblet, $14, REI; sunglasses, $80–$180, Jans; soft-sided wine carafe, $10, REI.