Sundance brings the Snow, Magic & Melody to Park City: Part I

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival is officially over and the town is back to normal… well kind of.  The town is still bustling with people and energy for the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding and Freeskiing Grand Prix that is taking place this weekend at Canyons Resort… and not to mention it’s the 10 Year Anniversary of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.  But I’m here to share the magic of Sundance with you.

Official Provider Sundance Fil Festival

Park City Lodging, Inc. is an official Sundance provider and with that comes the credentials… ohh yeah.  During the 10-day Sundance festivities one will see hundreds of people roaming the town with credentials securely fastened around their necks.  If you’re lucky enough to get your paws on one of these bad boys, you are permitted access to the following:  Admittance to the Sundance House, Filmmaker Lodger, Salt Lake City Festival Café, the Music Café and the New Frontier on Main Street.  Park City Lodging, Inc. employees had the opportunity to attend some of these events.  Here’s what went down…

The ASCAP Music Café:

The Music Café is a program produced by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), which presents an intimate and dynamic showcase of live performances by emerging and established artists during the Sundance Film Festival.  Located at the Rich Haines Gallery on lower Main Street, the space is transformed into an intimate venue that engages, captures and moves you as your serenaded by the sounds of the artists.  This years’ performers included A Fine Frenzy, The All-American Rejects, Erin Barra, Cris Cab, Bailey Cooke, Jeremy Current, Flying Lotus, John Forte & Friends featuring Natasha Bedingfield & Ben Taylor, David Gray, Lisa Hannigan, Garland Jeffreys, Jenny O., Josh Kelley, Greg Laswell, James McCartney, Ingrid Michaelson, David Nail, Chris Velan, Mike Viola & Ryan Miller; as well as a special surprise guest performance, which I will get to later…

My first ASCAP experience was Saturday, Jan. 21 and I had the opportunity to see Jenny O., Josh Kelley and John Forte & Friends featuring Natasha Bedingfield & Ben Taylor.  I had never heard Jenny O. before and if you haven’t either, I highly suggest downloading.  Once she opened her mouth, the crowd was sucked in by her sweet melodic sound and her quirky and funny lyrics.  I’m not the biggest country fan, so Josh Kelley wasn’t my favorite performance, but the guy can definitely sing.  The final performance was John Forte, Ben Taylor and what I was waiting for… Natasha Bedingfield.  The crowd started moving and grooving as Forte began to play his tunes.  And yes, Natasha sang a mix-up of “Pocket Full of Sunshine”… and it was amazing.  Needless to say, I enjoyed all the performances and the artists sounded great.  Here are some photos…

Jenny O Performance

Josh Kelley Performance

Ben Taylor Performance

John Forte & Natasha Bedingfield

Now let’s jump to Monday, January 23.  The ASCAP Music Café schedule read: 4:40-5:10 – Surprise Special Guest.  There had been some buzz around town as to whom this special guest would be.  We headed to the Café, only to find a long line, but we were hopeful we would make the performance.

crowd waiting outside to see Rodriguez..

We met a woman in line who confirmed the rumors that, yes, Rodriguez, was the special guest performer. Rodriguez is the main character in the 2012 Sundance Film, “Searching for Sugarman,” which was chosen as one of Sundances ‘Best of Fest” films. I don’t want to spoil all the fun, and I will talk about his movie later; but let’s just say it was an honor to be apart of his performance. To learn more about the mystery man click here. The Music Café was packed, people were cheering like madmen when he made his entrance, but it quickly silenced when Rodriguez opened his mouth…

Rodriguez Entrance

the mystery man himself… Rodriguez

Our last Music Café experience was Thursday, Jan. 26.  We arrived early this time to make sure we got a good spot, but the place was already packed; and unlike most times, the crowd did not clear once a set was over.  Everyone was there for one reason and they were not moving… David Gray.  Before David, though, we enjoyed the sounds of Lisa Hannigan and Ingrid Michaelson.  Lisa sang solo with her ukulele and guitar.  Her sweet sound was soothing and joyful.  Then Ingrid came and rocked the house (at least in my opinion; but then again, I am a fan).  She has a powerhouse of a voice and rocked both the guitar and piano.  My only complaint is that she sang all new stuff.  But overall, I enjoyed.

Lisa Hannigan Performance

Ingrid Michaelson

And last, but not least, came the man of the hour… David Gray.  The ladies beside and behind me went nuts when he came out and many shouted song requests; which he gladly – and wonderfully – played.  David played all the good hits, along with some new songs he recently wrote.  And he sounded just as he does on his albums.  His played the piano passionately and tuned his guitar – or guitars I should say – till it was just right.  He even came back for an encore performance.  It was a poetic ending to my first-ever ASCAP Music Café experience.

Sweet melody

David Gray on the piano

what a smile

Well this concludes Part I of my three-part Sundance series.  Stay tuned for more on the films I saw, as well as some of the action of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.