Before music was readily available online, I used to sit cross-legged on the living room floor for hours with a blank tape in the stereo and my finger poised on the record button. I would wait until a song came on that I wanted to keep and listen to on my Walkman I had bought at a local pawn shop. Sometimes I’d be waiting for a specific song, like Ricky Martin’s “Living La Vida Loca,” and sometimes, I just wanted to keep a recording of potential new favorite songs.
The other way I found new music was through the public library. The CD collection was sparse, but it’s how I got to know Counting Crows, Sister Hazel, Blues Traveler and others. I checked out hundreds of albums knowing that if I didn’t like the styles I could return them without consequence. But when I stumbled on Antigone Rising’s “From the Ground Up,” I knew I had hit gold. The soulful folk music was right up my alley, but more than that, I could tell the singer was a lesbian. Or at least, I thought she was. Deep in my closeted world I was titillated that something gay would be so close to my eardrums. I went to Barnes and Noble and bought the album.
I hid it inside my secret CD case, along with other music I knew my parents wouldn’t approve. But there weren’t any questionable lyrics or salacious melodies on this CD. It was much like other folk-country albums, except the object of desire was of the same gender as the lead singer.
Antigone Rising is still around and will be headlining the fabulous Women’s Redrock Music Festival in Torrey, Utah. The festival is just one of many arts, music and film festivals that cater largely to the LGBT community in Utah. The festival often features lesbians and other strong women who are talented and independent.
Other festivals, including the Utah Arts Festival, Damn These Heels! Film Festival, the Deer Valley Music Festival and the Red Butte Concert Series are just as queer-friendly as any Pride celebration in Utah. The listings of music, art and film festivals in Utah are growing each year and taking advantage of these terrific celebrations not only enriches our community, it’s an outstanding way to meet new gay and gay-friendly Utahns.
In this issue we list some of the most prominent music and art festivals in the region. We can’t guarantee that the weather will cooperate or that the music and art will live up to expectations, but we can guarantee there will be a strong showing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people anywhere there is art to be found.