Charging for the concerts is a break with a 24-year tradition.
"Twilight is a cultural phenomenon that has changed the face of downtown Salt Lake City. I've been arguing for years that it makes sense [to charge a nominal fee]," said Jason Mathis, executive director of Downtown Alliance, which is one of the chief sponsors.
The hardest person to convince? Mathis said it was the Arts Council's Jarman, the series founder. Jarman said he realized at last summer's closing concert rapper Lupe Fiasco headlined that the series had become a victim of its own success. With an estimated crowd of 55,000 inside Pioneer Park, Jarman said audience members were packed in and "uncomfortable."
"There was irony in the name if there ever was one," he said, referring to Fiasco.
Last year, the average show attendance was 33,000.
Jarman added that as he walked around the Fiasco concert, he ran into overcrowding, the recurring problem that led to the move three years ago from the much-smaller Gallivan Center to Pioneer Park.
With rising production and artist fees, Jarman said he considered two options: Produce five Twilight concerts with no fee, or put on nine concerts with a $5 fee.
That's two more than last year's seven concerts, which was all the Arts Council's budget could afford.
"The idea is not to weed out people," Jarman said, but to provide a better concert experience for those who attend.
Making Twilight plans?
2012 Twilight Concert series lineup at Pioneer Park; gates open at 5 p.m.
July 5 • Beach House with The Walkmen
July 12 • Raphael Saadiq with JJ Grey & Mofro
July 19 • Nas with TBA
July 26 • Band of Horses with TBA
Aug. 2 • My Morning Jacket with TBA
Aug. 9 • Passion Pit with Austra
Aug. 16 • Iron and Wine with Kathleen Edwards
Aug. 23 • M. Ward with Devotchka
Aug. 30 • Common with TBA
Tickets • $5 for each concert, $35 for the series, at www.24Tix.com and Graywhale Entertainment stores, on sale June 1 at 10 a.m.
More • Ticketholders will be allowed to enter through a separate line at each entrance.
Info • Visit www.twilightconcertseries.com