Park City’s Main Street rocks well into the wee hours with revelers looking to catch a little of the Sundance vibe (i.e. free drinks and schwag).

Parties—typically fueled by celebrity appearances, schwag giveaways and plenty of free drinks—are one of the ways public relations firms attempt to garner attention for their clients during Sundance. On Friday, I got to attend two such shindigs; the first of which was held in Park City Main Street’s Claim Jumper Inn.

Hosted by Continuum Entertainment Group (CEG) and billed as a “media, celebrity and tastemaker haven,” I felt every second of my 42 years from the moment I walked in the door. The packed venue was bathed in pink and turquoise light and reeked of tequila and lime. At one end of the room, a dread-locked DJ shared a stage with two dancers apparently trying to see who could “shake their bootie” the longest and hardest. At the other, bartenders worked up a sweat pouring free drinks as fast as the thirsty crowd could drink them.

CEG client tables were set up stage right of the DJ: Sara Horne Jewelry, N.S. Minerals cosmetics and Portable Hookah. I made an honest attempt to listen to each rep’s product spiel, but had such a hard time hearing over the pulsating music and soon gave up. We headed toward the back of the party in search of a little more elbow room and I almost tripped over rapper Lil Jon. (My one and only celebrity sighting.) Luckily, I recovered quick enough to snap a photo before his house-sized bodyguard ushered him into the back room.

 

Later that same evening we headed to Canyons’ annual Sundance kick-off party, co-hosted by the television show EXTRA! at the Red Pine Lodge. With sponsor Veuve Clinquot champagne and live music by 1,2,3,Go! (Made up of Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard; Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready; Brett Scallions from Fuel on lead vocals; and Ken Schalk, Fuel’s drummer.) I had high hopes, both for celebrity sightings and a good time. Unlike the CEG Main Street soirée, this gathering was a little more my personal speed. Attendees weren’t throwing back the free cocktails with quite as much zeal as they were at the Claim Jumper. Everyone seemed to be spending most of their energy scanning the room for celebs, of which there were none, at least as far as I could tell. The band finally came on around 10 p.m. Long story short, we left after the second number. 1,2,3,Go! may indeed be the first-ever grunge supergroup, but after a long day of Sundancing, heading to bed took quick precedence over getting my groove on into the wee hours.

Melissa Fields is a Utah-based freelance writer. Her blog is utahvagabond.com