Chvrches at Ogden Twilight 02

The sun sets over the crowd at the Ogden Amphitheater as Pale Waves performs on the final night of the Ogden Twilight Concert Series on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018.

OGDEN — It was the biggest — and arguably, the best — summer of music in downtown Ogden.

With last Thursday’s Chvrches concert in the Ogden Amphitheater, the 2018 Ogden Twilight Concert Series came to a close. It was a season that offered twice the music of past years, representing some “amazing” bands that event founder Jared Allen said had always been on his bucket list.

Allen, a local businessman who owns the downtown bar Alleged, said he feels like this year’s edition was “really well-received” by Utah crowds. The 10 concerts this year included one sellout, the July 17 Sylvan Esso show.

“And that was a Tuesday night,” Allen boasts.

Two other shows, The Flaming Lips on June 7 and last week’s Chvrches concert, approached the 7,000-seat maximum set for the amphitheater, selling more than 6,000 tickets apiece.

Allen said he’ll meet with city officials later this week to review this year’s series and talk about next year.

“We’ll go over what worked and what didn’t, but overall I think it was a big economic boon to the city,” he said.

Based on the popularity of this year’s shows and how smoothly things went, Allen said he’s fairly certain Ogden Twilight will be back again next year. However, it’s too early to tell just how many shows will be offered in 2019 — that, he says, will depend on booking opportunities for artists.

“We won’t force the situation if it’s not the right choice or too much money,” he said.

One of the things that helps make Ogden Twilight successful, according to Allen, are the businesses that sponsor the shows and subsidize ticket prices. He says the only reason the concerts work at the $10 price point is because local companies are willing to step up to keep ticket prices “cheap and accessible.”

Take this year’s kickoff concert with The Flaming Lips. Like all shows in the series, tickets to the show in the Ogden Amphitheater were a mere $10.

“But the next night The Flaming Lips played Aspen (Colorado), and tickets were $90,” he said.

Indeed, the only dark cloud in the entire series was, well, quite literally a dark cloud.

According to Allen, if a thunderstorm is within a certain number of miles of the amphitheater, organizers are required to stop the concert. Midway through the third and final act at the Aug. 2 Broken Social Scene concert, lightning closed down the show. They evacuated the venue and executed a 20-minute hold to see if the storm would blow over. It didn’t, and the rest of the show was canceled, Allen said.

It’s the first time in four years — which featured four concerts the first year, five concerts each of the second and third years, and 10 concerts this year — they’ve had to stop an Ogden Twilight concert.

“Out of 24 shows the last four years — that’s 72 artists — we made it through 71.5 artists without a problem,” Allen said. “That’s a pretty good batting average.”

Allen also praised the city of Ogden for the job it did managing the venue for this years’s shows.

“Everything ran incredibly smooth; each year they get better and better at it,” he said. “It’s nice we can turn the ball over to them once the artists are booked, and they take care of it.”

Ogden Twilight organizers admit there are some things they can’t control, like the increased competition among venues in the area. Live shows are one of the only ways artists make money these days, so with more bands touring the odds increase that two local venues will book similar artists for the same night.

“A couple of nights this year we had lower attendance where I’m sure that occurred,” Allen said. “I don’t know what we could do to manage that, but it’s something to think about going forward.”

As for future shows at the Ogden Twilight Concert Series, Allen says The Flaming Lips, Sylvan Esso and Chvrches weren’t the only artists on his bucket list.

“I’ve got a list of 50 artists I would try to bring here,” he said. “And artists never stop making music, so there’s always new stuff made every year. It’s amazing.”

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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