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Sundance 2013 closes: What a great party!

January 30th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Ben Hansen
Special to the Hard News Café

PARK CITY—As the blizzard blew snow sideways, Sundance 2013 blew out of Park City almost as quickly as it came in. After a whirlwind 10 days that concludes my sixth year of Sundancing, I’ve come to grips with the fact that there is no way I can cover every event, every party, or every concert.

That hasn’t stopped me from trying.

Sundance-2013-LogoSmallAs usual, Sundance 2013 was full of excitement on and off the screen. “Blood Brother,” “Fruitvale” and “Crystal Fairy” all brought in awards, while fan favorites like “Don Jon’s Addiction” and “Kill Your Darlings” boasted A-list star power that seemed to arrive in Park City by the truckload this year. Daniel Radcliffe, Shia Labeouf, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, The Eagles, Jessica Alba, Steve Carell and plenty of others were seen both in local theaters and on the street.

The music scene was alive and well, with the Sound City Players concert at Park City Live the apex of the festival’s music offerings. Artists including Dave Grohl, Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, Corey Taylor and many more shared the same stage for one night. Many top acts from diverse musical genres provided memorable performances during the 10 days of the festival, including 2 Chainz, Lil’ John, Ke$ha, One Republic, Andrew Bird, Afrojack and Kenny Loggins’s Blue Sky Riders. Even smaller shows like Dead Sara were a sellout, introducing many festival-goers to new forms of music. From the free events of the ASCAP music festival to the paid events of Park City Live and the Star Bar, there were multiple options every night for catching great live performances.

HansenJohnnyKaplanSoundCityFestival food also lived up to expectations. Complimentary Sabra Hummus and Kind Plus granola bars were available at multiple venues. The food offerings at the Stella Artois Lounge were a welcome treat—there’s nothing like a hot waffle with powdered sugar just waiting for you as you enter on a cold day. One particular offering, Udi’s Gluten Free Table at the Miami Oasis, showed that you don’t need wheat to make great food. My particular course of a mouthwatering burger with all of the fixings, a flatbread pizza, and vanilla gelato for dessert left me more than satisfied. Afterwards, Patron offered many pleased attendees a “Make Your Own Mojito” experience, topped off with a free custom-engraved muddle. Having Jane Lynch eating while we were there made for an even more enjoyable experience, as she cracked jokes and took time out to pose for pictures with fans.

Celebrity sightings were everywhere. A particular hotspot, Village at the Lift, was surrounded by onlookers during the first few days. Alicia Keyes, Shia Labeouf, Nicole Kidman, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, and many others took time to pose for pictures with fans as they passed through to the various events inside the village.

And there was swag a-plenty—gift bags from different companies and after parties were everywhere on Main Street. The Outdoor Retailer’s Innovation Gallery was a hot spot, combining stylish offerings from Adidas and an exclusive event with actor James Franco that drew a crowd. TR suites had an interesting combination of branding this year, ranging from Dove Hair Care and Duracell Powermat portable chargers to National Geographic handing out “I Love Neanderthals” bags containing complimentary Genographic Project Participation Kits for tracing ancestry. The most unique swag of the festival, Mullet on the Go, provided a hilarious quick “attitude adjustment” by offering stylish mullet haircuts, complete with colorful headbands.

Deb Durkin’s Eco Hideaway at The Chateaux in Deer Valley once again took best-in- festival. Live performances from a lineup of live bands including Johnny Kaplan and others from Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players set the right ambiance for an incredibly relaxed experience out of the heavy flow of Main Street traffic, along with a special surprise musical appearance by Daryl Hannah, who played the ukulele. Guests to the Hideaway were treated to luxury spa services from the Stein Eriksen, a delicious breakfast buffet, healthy offerings from Whole Foods, and a number of gifting/branding participants, including festival favorites Huggrz Boot coverings, Minky Couture soft blankets and scarves, and Michael Foster’s 100 percent Egyptian cotton men’s designer scarves.

The Sundance Channel HQ and the HP Pavilion on Main Street provided a welcome retreat for all weary festival-goers, while offering free eats and Brita Nalgene bottles for those who entered. This was a great opportunity for anyone to put their feet up for a few minutes and rest from the endless go-go-go of the festival.

As I watch the long line of traffic streaming out of Park City to head down the canyon in near white-out conditions, I also am finally ready to kick my own feet up and rest up a bit. For next year’s Sundance Festival.



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