SALT LAKE CITY — The Twilight Concert Series won't be coming back next year.
But it should return in 2019 — it just might look a little different.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski's office recommended to the City Council on Tuesday that the concert series not be funded for the 2018 season while city leaders try to re-work how the series is planned and funded.
"We're taking a pause for a season," said Lara Fritts, director the mayor's Office of Economic Development.
According to an analysis Fritts' staff presented to the council Tuesday, the Twilight Concert Series has relied on city funding and some of the revenue from the Zoo, Arts and Parks tax, costing an average of about $227,000 per show.
However, the show must capture about $113,000 in revenue to keep out of the negative, the analysis reported. This year, two shows in the series only earned $50,000 and ran a $126,000 deficit.
"We walked into kind of a messy situation," Biskupski said in an interview Tuesday. "And you could hear it from the get-go that the council was frustrated with how the series was being run."
Previously, Salt Lake City has provided emergency funds to the Salt Lake City Arts Council for the concerts, but the money was always allocated after the concert has taken place because of when the concert series falls in the city's budget cycle.
Fritts said by taking a "pause," the 2019 concert series can be planned during normal budget cycle. If the arts council was going to put on a 2018 concert series, it would have to begin booking artists now, Fritts said.
"Yep, we won't see Twilight next year," Biskupski said, but she assured it will return in 2019. "It'll come back."
In the meantime, Fritts said the city can consider ways to restructure the Twilight Concert Series so it's more financially viable.
Fritts' staff presented four options for the City Council to consider Tuesday: leave it be, reduce the number of shows from seven to four, move it from Pioneer Park to the Gallivan Center, or move the series to various locations around the city with smaller shows.
Biskupski said she doesn't know what model she prefers — rather she hopes to learn from the council to see what they like best.
City Council Chairman Stan Penfold said he personally isn't fond of the option to scale the series down to four shows, but he's "intrigued" by structuring it into smaller shows scattered throughout the city.5 comments on this story
Either way, Penfold said he doesn't want the series to disappear altogether.
"Twilight is an incredible concert series. One of the things I love about it is the diversity in audience and artists that we really don't see anywhere else in this valley, frankly. I'd hate to see that go away," he said. "So I'm excited that we're taking some deliberate time to look at our options, and I hope we make a commitment to fund it going forward."
Penfold said he hopes the council can figure out what model it prefers by the end of the year.