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Weekend concerts keep Kilby Court afloat through pandemic with limited attendance

Members of the band Adult Prom perform at Kilby Court Feb. 11, 2021. “I definitely would say I feed off the energy of the crowd, and you don’t really get that,” said the band’s drummer, Finn Harris, about the limited capacity shows Kilby Court has hosted during the COVID pandemic. (Anthony Giorgio)

Kilby Court, a popular live music venue among Salt Lake City locals, began offering limited capacity shows in October 2020 to adapt to the demands of a live music venue during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Operated by Will Sartain and Lance Saunders through their production company, Sartain & Saunders, Kilby Court opened its doors to the Salt Lake community as a live music venue in 2003. As of this year, Kilby Court remains the longest standing all-ages venue in the capital city.

All proceeds from the shows have kept Kilby Court up and running until everyone can safely return to live music in-person, according to Nic Smith, ticketing and sales agent for Sartain & Saunders.

“We have put a lot of thought into how we run our events to ensure everyone’s safety while enjoying live music,” Smith said in an email. “To date, we have not had any cases of people with [COVID-19] in our venues or any outbreak of the kind.” 

The Wall of Fame at Kilby Court
The Wall of Fame displays the names of prominent acts who have played the venue throughout the last 18 years at Kilby Court Feb. 11, 2021. (Anthony Giorgio)

Smith said the venue has been responsive to changing conditions, closing down during coronavirus spikes in November and December 2020. The venue currently plans to continue the limited capacity shows through fall 2021.

The headliners for Thursday night, a local band named Adult Prom, spoke to The Forum about their experience playing in limited capacity shows. Adult Prom formed in Salt Lake City in 2018, and has played at Kilby Court several times.

The band has played twice since the venue opened up to limited capacity shows.

“I definitely would say I feed off the energy of the crowd, and you don’t really get that,” said Finn Harris, the band’s drummer. “But, I don’t know, I think people are still stoked to come out and hear music, even though it’s a little bit of an awkward setup.” 

Russ Allphin, lead singer of Adult Prom, said there were obvious differences between shows both before and during the pandemic. For example, sold-out shows now have half the capacity they once did and their most recent shows were performed pro bono to support Kilby Court.

“It’s been, like, a really good reception,” Allphin said, despite skepticism about playing to such a small crowd. “I still really like it — it’s not the same as shows pre-pandemic, but I still love it. I love playing shows here.”

Concert-goers affirmed the need to support local music venues, especially Kilby Court.

“Kilby is a Utah classic,” said Natalie, who attended the concert but declined to give her last name for this story. “I mean, it’s been here for so long, there’s so many memories here […] It’s kind of one of the last venues like this left, and I think the whole art scene in Utah, really we need to work to make sure it’s preserved. And this is a big part of that, for sure.”

Limited capacity shows will continue each week at Kilby Court through the fall, Thursdays through Saturdays. 


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Anthony Giorgio is a third-year communication major and research assistant at Westminster College. He specializes in filmmaking, design, and creative writing in addition to other artistic pursuits in his free time. Forever a coffee-enthusiast, he maintains a regular caffeine intake and is happy to answer any questions you have about coffee preparation or history. He would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to always tip your baristas and other service workers, and to tip extra for the duration of the pandemic.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome article Anthony! So nice to see local music news in The Forum


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