Live music will return to Swanny City Park this month, beginning as Bonnie Paine and Bridget Law take the stage for the first performance in the 2021 Moab Free Concert Series at 7 p.m. on June 11.
That’s not only a relief for music lovers but for performers and event promoters too, says Cassie Paup, who heads the Friends of the Moab Folk Festival. The nonprofit presents the yearly free concert series as well as the Moab Folk Festival and Folk Camp.
“This is the first live music that we’ve produced since the fall of 2019,” said Paup. “We’re so excited to welcome Bonnie and Bridget back to Moab.”
“We already know that people in Moab are into their music and style,” said Paup, noting that the duo has previously performed at the Moab Folk Fest and at an area benefit concert along with their band Elephant Revival.
The two women have performed together for two decades, joining high-energy, lively vocal melodies with folk instrumentation around Law’s fiddle playing. The concert will be broadcast live from the park on KZMU Radio (90.1 and 106.7 FM).
Unlike previous year’s series, the 2021 concerts will take place over three months and begin later in the evening to beat the summer heat. As the concert is on city property, masks are required for those unvaccinated and there will be designated areas for people who prefer to socially distance.
“We’ll have a food truck and some vendors for those who show up earlier,” says Paup. There will be beer and wine available for purchase and proceeds will benefit the Friends.
“That’s how our nonprofit makes some money,” says Paup. “We also have great sponsors from the local business community and foundation grants. This year in particular, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums really manifested support in the way of federal CARES Act dollars.”
“We’re really cognizant of how much of a village it takes to hold up the arts in times of trouble,” says Paup.
“The Moab Free Concert Series began as community outreach,” says Paup. “We wanted to include more of the community and make sure that the performing arts are accessible for those who can’t afford a ticket to a concert.”
Paup said that from that seed of an idea, the concerts have grown and flourished with support front the City of Moab, the Moab Area Travel Council, and local businesses.
“It’s gone over so well and become so loved,” she says. “We held the first in 2017, so this is the fourth year” after last year’s series was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, the cancellation of live events has taken a toll on the arts community.
“This has been a year like no other, where musicians and producers couldn’t do our jobs,” says Paup. “A lot of people lost 100% of their income. We all need to get back to work, really.”
The Moab Free Concert Series will present Steve Poltz on July 30 and a currently unconfirmed artist in August.
What: Free performance by Bonnie Paine and Bridget Law
When: June 11 at 7 p.m.
Where: Swanny City Park (300 Park Ave, Moab)
For more information, go to www.moabfreeconcerts.com