Sitting on blankets with picnics, people from across the state gather together every Sunday to drum, dance, slackline, and hoop or spin poi. It’s an artistic social scene that’s a far cry from the typical Sunday afternoon experience of a state like Utah.
On Sundays from 2 p.m. until dark, locals gather at Liberty Park, a 30-minute walk from Westminster’s campus, to attend a drum circle that has been going on for over two decades.
“People of all levels of music and expertise come together and share their rhythmical spirits,” said Sabina Sandoval, who created the drum circle when she moved to Utah in 1993. “Everyone has something to offer the circle, and everyone is welcome. The spirit of the magic of the rhythmic expression of the drums cuts through all ages, sexes, religions, roles and cultures.”
Taylor Pia, a 22-year-old college student, has attended the gathering with his friends for over three years and said his favorite part of the experience is its inclusivity.
“[The drum circle is a] non-judgmental environment that is very welcoming, and everyone is invited to join in,” Pia said. “You may see separate groups of people sitting around, but we are all one. Everyone is welcome.”
Megan Donnelly, a 20-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, started attending the Liberty Park drum circle when she moved to Salt Lake City two years ago and said the people she meets keep her coming back to the drum circle.
“My favorite part about it is that it’s a judge-free zone,” Donnelly said. “Everyone is just really welcoming and friendly and usually random people will talk to you every time you go there. There’s a lot of interesting people.”
The gathering’s culture attracts people from all walks of life, according to Sandoval.
“There is no discrimination,” she said. “The CEO sits next to the custodian and there’s no titles.”
The local traffic also attracts community vendors, who set up stands and sell locally-made soaps and jewelry.
The drum circle received a bad reputation after a stabbing in May 2016. Since then, police presence has increased but hasn’t stopped the drum circle from gathering.
“Some people have a hard time controlling themselves and that can happen anywhere,” Taylor said. “There is always that one chance something like that will happen.”
Taylor said the group’s motto still stands despite the stabbing.
“As long as the sun’s out, we are here,” he said