Is it bad that I’m not missing skiing right now? After my EPIC and I mean EPIC day of pow at Alta on Monday I put away the skis and got ready for Sundance. It’s like the circus came to town and with zero fresh and 50 degree weather, skiers and non-skiers alike have a decent excuse to take in the sights and sounds of a newly ‘converted’ Park City Main Street. More than two decades ago, Sundance organizers and Park City collaborated to move the Sundance Film Festival to the historic resort as a way to bring business to town during a traditionally slow time of year. Then came the World Cup Freestyle at Deer Valley Resort and MLK weekend and now January is insane in this tiny town. Driving’s a hassle, parking non-existent unless you like extortion with your entry pass, the restaurants are booked and your favorite dining galleries are “lounges” and “suites”. Yet, still, there’s plenty of room to ski. But I can do that any old day.
Park City businesses must feel the same. Many on Main Street pack up their stock, their paintings, their dishes and get out of town for the first four days of the Fest; choosing to take a huge chunk of cash to walk away and let sponsors like Chase Sapphire and YouTube take over their spaces. For most, those rentals amount to a couple of months’ rent in just four days.
J Go Gallery rents to Variety Magazine for a celebrity interview lounge the first five days of the festival. (eg. Good Stargazing Spot). “The first weekend is mostly people in the film industry seeing movies, networking and having coffee. They are not spending a lot of time shopping,” the Gallery owners told the Salt Lake Tribune. “The second weekend is more of our clients — film lovers and skiers — who spend more time shopping.” They tried not renting last year and lost money so they’re back in the game this year.
YouTube takes up residence at Root’D (596 Main St.) where the public can grab coffee, listen to live music and view film panels. They will host private parties in the evenings.
I can’t wait to swing by Udi’s this year. Last year, they treated invited guests to an amazingly tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner menu t their showcase their gluten-free products. The pop-up café takes over 501 Restaurant.
My little one love swinging into the Festival Co-op where L’Oreal does face and hair makeovers. She walked with lipstick and shampoo. The space is open to the public 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily at 608 Main St.
You can’t miss the giant white ‘cabin’ at the corner of lower Main. And just in case, there’s a huge HP plastered on the sign. The Sundance House presented by HP showcases interactive experiences that will allow you to explore the ways in which technology works with film. You can also get out of the cold- if it ever gets cold this week!- for free Wi-Fi, laptops, and printers use. The HP Live Lounge is the heated tent you see on the corner. It’s earblowingly loud in there when various local artists play so bring your earplugs. Open daily from 9:30 a.m.
If you like cars, the Acura Lounge is right across the street for chances to win a ride-around, gourmet movie snacks and music.
One of the hardest public spots to get into is the Sundance Channel HQ at the top of Main. Well, it’s not really public per se. It’s open to credential holders or you can go online and rsvp for a day pass. The line swings up the street and you basically count on standing there until the event ends and you’re turned away. The invite tickets go before they’re even posted. The café hosts panel discussions and private events at night but the best event is CATDANCE sponsored by Fresh Step kitty litter. The party is also an awards show for cat-related short films.
Not sure you really understand the “industry?” YouTube on Main (596) hosts screening, panels, happy hours and parties – most of which are open to anyone. Daily 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Click here to see a complete schedule of events and programming.
Ever use Airbnb to book your Park City lodging? Now’s your chance to learn about the service. The Airbnb Haus is a nice place to chill and discover rentals from treehouses to castles. Open daily at the bottom of Main in the old Blue Iguana space.
Next stop is the Canon Lounge (aka Rock and Relly’s Pub) next to Park City Live (which itself is the Park City Live Lounge). But at Canon they’ll host panel discussions, screenings and parties for filmmakers to spotlight the Canon Cinema EOS line of professional digital cameras and lenses. My Canon Rebel T4i may not qualify but I’m an actor. I can fake it.
The Utah Film Commission is hosting The Hub. For sure drop in and see what’s cooking in our fair state with regards to film production. The spot at 751 Main will have hot drinks, snacks and hands to shake. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
One of the busiest addresses last year was the MorningStar Farms Veggie Burger Bar. Who can resist free food even when it’s veggie burgers? To be fair, they have veggie sliders, veggie chili and chik’n buffalo wings and vegan options as well. Located in the Eating Establishment (317 Main), the Bar is open to the public through Tuesday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
The SkyLodge becomes the ZenDen for exclusive morning yoga workouts (7 a.m! Ouch.) bodywork appointments and private parties co-sponsored by the Awareness Festival and Lulelemon. It’s an eco-friendly retreat for VIPs from the usual crazy scene at Sundance.
Another retreat for VIPs, the EcoHideaway, is the not so much of a gifting place as it is a spot to take in live music. This year’s lounge is back on Main after relocating to Stein Eriksen Lodge for a few years. Expect over 40 musical performances over the three days they’re there. Park City’s Whole Foods gets involved. Last year, I collected some sweet lotions and eye cream. The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge will do mini-facials, Utah’s Minky Couture will gift their adorable, uber-soft blankets and scarves; looks like they’re doing OC Hair and Makeup too. Other sponsors touted are LAMO Footwear, Fur Frenzy, OC HAIR and MAKEUP, Bula (yay for a ski connection!), and Under Canvas Glamping Trips to Yellowstone, Moab Desert, and Montana).