Cedar Music Fest Brings New Nightlife to Historic Downtown

A live music festival is coming back to the Festival City two years after the popular Groovefest was canceled. After the recent approval by the Cedar City council, Cedar Music Fest (CMF) is scheduled to take place Sept. 15 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the parking lot at 50 W. University Blvd., where the Cedar City farmers market takes place.

Designed to feature live music, local artists and crafters, Cedar Music Fest is presented by Southern Utah University’s Office of Community and Academic Enrichment (CAE), and has been in the planning stages for six months. A new office at SUU, CAE was founded in 2017 to bring cultural experiences and community learning opportunities, along with world travel and professional development classes, to southern Utah residents.

Director of SUU CAE, Melynda Thorpe, is also known as the founder of George Streetfest, a block party in the historic portion of downtown St. George that brings food, artists, crafters and street performers together once a month and has significantly revitalized the area.

“Historic downtown areas offer a rich opportunity for community gatherings and enrichment,” Thorpe said. “We are excited for the opportunity to showcase the many cultural talents and abilities of the Cedar City area at this new event.”

In a study conducted by SUU master’s degree students, those attending St. George’s Streetfest were questioned on their likes and dislikes of the event. Nearly 70 percent of those taking part in the survey responded that they shop in downtown stores while attending the event.

Cedar City Councilman Scott Phillips, who also serves on the Historic Downtown Economic committee and the new CMF committee, said an event like this has been needed in downtown Cedar City since Groovefest ceased operations.

“This is just what we were looking for, something to draw more locals and tourists alike to the downtown area and see what the great merchants in the area have to offer,” Phillips said.

The new Cedar Music Fest has been in the works with several entities contributing time and effort in the initial planning stages, including; SUU Alumni and Community Relations, Cedar City and the Historic Downtown Economic Committee, Southern Utah Museum of Art, and several of the businesses in downtown Cedar City who stepped up and pledged $2,350 in funds for the first event.

“When I first heard about a music festival coming to Cedar City, I was interested in supporting the idea both personally and professionally,” said Jessica Farling, director of the Southern Utah Museum of Art and CMF committee member. “I wanted SUMA to be involved in some capacity because I see the potential that a music festival will have for our downtown area, as well as extending to the Beverley Center for the Arts.”

After the inaugural Cedar Music Fest, committee members are working on plans to hold up to four events next year to help draw more tourists to downtown Cedar City during off-season times. As well as drawing tourists to Cedar City, the festival will draw bands and musicians from neighboring states to stay in motels, shop and eat in local establishments.

“As an artist, there is always a drive to share your work,” said Steven Swift, who serves on the CMF committee and plays in the local band Full Tilt Boogie. “The icing on the cake is when you find an event, or a town, that makes sharing your creativity an enjoyable experience. Those are the gigs that keep you coming back.”

Those interested in becoming a volunteer or sponsor for the inaugural Cedar Music Fest can contact event manager Jessica Burr by phone at (435) 586-7759, or email at jessicaburr@suu.edu.

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If you go:

What: Cedar Music Fest

When: Sept. 15, 6 – 10 p.m.

Where: 50 W. University Blvd., Cedar City, Utah

Cost: Free