Mark your calendars for a mini-road trip: the Helper Arts Festival, in Helper—about two hours north—takes place from August 19-21. The three-day festival includes live music, a gallery stroll, car show, children’s art yard, open mic nights, a beer garden, and, of course, art and food vendors.
“I think the festival broadens everyone’s horizons,” said Hannah Patrick, the vendor organizer. The festival is a one-stop-shop for event-goers to see everything Helper, and Utah, have to offer. Plus, Patrick said, it’s free to attend. Last year, over 4,000 people attended the festival.
Before the weekend festivities, there will be a gallery stroll on Thursday, August 18 down Main Street, with live music by Ricardo Romero’s Latin Jazz Band. There will also be two live music shows at the Rio Theater: Rosetan will play from 8 to 9 p.m., followed by Brydgs & Devin Knight.
Art and food vendors
The art and food vendors will set up along Helper’s Main Street from 2 p.m. to dusk on Friday, 10 a.m. to dusk on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The 60 art vendors are coming from all over the West, Patrick said: most are from Utah, and many from Helper, but there are also artists from New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming. The art forms range too: there will be photography, woodworking, metalwork, painting, drawing, ceramics, jewelry, leatherwork, and other handmade items.
“The interest from artists and food vendors has been just out the roof,” Patrick said, adding that the festival is at its vendor capacity. This year is the first “back to normal” year since 2019: in 2020, the festival was canceled, and in 2021, it was much smaller, Patrick said.
There will also be live street art by graffiti artists at the corner of Main and Depot Street on Friday and Saturday night, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The festival is working with Kenny Driggs, who runs a production company in Los Angeles, to organize both the musicians and the performances. In total, the festival will host 20 acts across three stages.
“The approach this year is that every single one of these music acts is worth driving out here to see,” Driggs said.
There are two outdoor stages: Main St. Park and Depot St. Stage; and one indoor: The Rio Theater, which Driggs said was recently renovated with new lighting and audio.
“Even our outdoor stages will have full production designs—good lighting and audio support, so the music feels like you’re at Coachella or another festival you paid to be at,” Driggs said. “What we’ve put together here really will feel fantastic, and just be fun.”
On Friday, Brian Stucki and Walter Ergo: A Rock Opera will play at The Rio at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. At 6 p.m., Cardinal Bloom will open the Main St. Park location, followed by Scott Lippitt, 3HatTrio, and Jake & the Heist.
On Saturday, all three stages will be in use. Brian Stucki and Walter Ergo will again play at The Rio at the same times. Music at Main St. Park begins at 6 p.m. with Lee Rafugee, followed by Brother Chunky, Caydin and Summer Bell, and Grizzly Goat. Music at the Depot St. Stage begins at 7:30 p.m. with The Lasslo Brothers Band followed by Rosetan, then The Klick.
The music finishes on Sunday with two performances at Main St. Park: Darling & Debonair will play at 12 p.m., and The Backyard Revival will play at 1 p.m.
There will also be an open mic from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, at the corner of Main and Depot St. That’s a time for people to “bring their guitars and jump on a mic,” Driggs said.
There will also be a car show, hosted by Vintage Motor Company, on Saturday. The kids’ art tent is open on Saturday and Sunday; there will also be a stop-motion animation workshop for kids on Monday, August 22.
The festival is free to attend. More information can be found at www.helperartsfestival.com.