How to Red Butte

You’ve survived your first Utah winter. That thing with UtahisRad83 fizzled, but at least you had a snuggle buddy.  Time to get out into the Utah summer, which, duh is all about the shows at Red Butte. 

What is it? An expensive way to drink in the park with 3,000 of your close personal friends. Plus live band!

But for Reals

Red Butte Shows are a lot of fun. Visit for updates on the line up, membership and ticket info.

How do I get tickets? It’s a simple 25-step process. Buy a membership to Red Butte Garden (by April 23). This will allow you to wander the gardens any time you want. You will never do this. But it’s nice to think about. “No Mom. I have to buy the membership to get my Steve Miller tickets before everyone else. No, it’s not a Mormon thing. I can go to the garden whenever I want; and it’s SO pretty there. Can I get Dad’s credit card?” 

But really, how do I get tickets? Painstakingly review the season announcements which dribble out from like February ‘til now. Then, membership card in hand, log in on April 29 and keep hitting refresh. You’re screwed on John Prine. Those Prine people are the same ones who get up at 3 a.m. to go to Alta on a powder day. 

How much? A lot. First. There’s that membership to the garden you won’t use to get in line for early ticket sales with every old head from 1995. Then, well who knows? $70+ a show? Season tickets are for whoever sold Qualtrics to SAP. Oh, also, your wine-cracker-hummus-olive-cheese-and-wine budget is blown.

So what happens there? The people-watching at Red Butte is magnifique. You’ve got the Botox set dancing like no one’s watching and their silverback venture capitalist man friends in fedoras and Tommy Bahama gear, pretending they like to dance. Then there’s you. Just drink your Barefoot Merlot, dear, and wonder why you didn’t major in finance or whatever it is these people do.

What about the line? Yeah, that’s a thing. There are all these people ostensibly without jobs who show up at like 10 a.m. to just kick it. By the time you take your dog out to pee after your barista shift, you’ll be in the way, way back. When the gates open and line snakes down, you’ll emerge into the amphitheater to find a sea of giant space-hogging blankets. Stand there forlornly with your massive cooler and chickpea dip and then wade in.

How drunk are these people? Larry is a little wobbly and isn’t respecting the sovereign nation of YOUR BLANKET. Yeah, he’s going to tumble into your cheese plate. 

What’s the band? Who cares? Red Butte shows become a blur of cheap wine and hummus.

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Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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