Blisteringly blue skies, comfortable temps and a chill atmosphere is what you’ll find at the Thursday evening concert series at Newpark Amphitheater, Park City’s newest free music venue.

In case you’ve been living in a cave, Park City goes off for July 4th. Maybe it’s because folks in the valley are waiting to get their groove on for Pie and Beer Day later this month, or maybe it’s when it traditionally gets hot (or in this week’s case, sizzling) in the valley and Salt Lakers are looking for a little escape. At any rate, with a jam-packed schedule of events including the pancake breakfast, 5K, parade, activities in City Park and fireworks, outside of Sundance, July 4th likely qualifies as Park City’s biggest party of the year.

If you’re like me and are looking for a taste of the action sans the full commitment (i.e. crowds, traffic, etc.), skip the journey to Old Town and instead make a left onto Olympic Parkway just past Kimball Junction into the Newpark Town Center for the free weekly concert series, held every Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m., which this week is coincidentally the Fourth of July.

Like the long-running free Wednesday night concert series at Deer Valley, music at Newpark has a very small town, neighborly vibe. A pack of kids spin around near the stage as soon as the band starts playing, the music is loud enough for dancing but not too loud to impede conversation and picnic baskets and adult beverages are welcome.

Last week, I made the 20-minute trip from Salt Lake to Newpark to see the Dirty Bourbon River Show, a self-described “gypsy folk circus rock band” from New Orleans. The band’s folksy, yet edgy sound was a perfect fit for the wide range of ages and likely tastes at the Newpark Amphitheater that evening. I saw many friends both from Park City and the valley that evening and was able to comfortably chat while occasionally shaking my booty. An added bonus at Newpark is that the music venue is located in the middle of a mixed retail space with several restaurants and a Whole Foods easily accessible for snacks or a beer run (My hummus and veggies paled in comparison to the Maxwell’s take out pizza the family on the blanket next to us enjoyed.) to the north; and the scenic Swaner Nature Preserve to the east, allowing for stunning views of the wetlands and Utah Olympic Park past the band shell.

The Fox Street All Stars play Newpark this Thursday evening, July 4th. Their “roller coaster of road house blues” ought to be just what the doctor ordered to celebrate our nation’s birthday. For the full Newpark free Thursday night concert series, visit mountaintownmusic.org.

Melissa Fields is a Utah-based freelance writer. Her blog about Utah things to do, see and eat is utahvagabond.com.