About / Event History

History Of This Great Event in Salt Lake City

For years there have been many events in Salt Lake City. One of the most memorable and culturally celebrated is the Living Traditions Festival, a yearly event that tries to showcase the diversity in Salt Lake City. This SLC attraction includes food trucks, arts and crafts, and music performances. Events at the Salt Lake City Living Traditions Festival attract a diverse crowd of people from Utah and around the world. Located within the heart of downtown Salt Lake City the event has grown larger each year offering an enjoyable experience to anyone who attends.


Produced by the Salt Lake City Arts Council, the Living Traditions Festival is a three-day multicultural festival celebrating the traditional concerts, dance, crafts and foods of Salt Lake City’s contemporary ethnic communities. Admission is free for all event attendees, which brings together over 50 cultures—both native & foreign—that have made Salt Lake City their home. Throughout our history, our events have highlighted the beauty that these cultures have brought to Salt Lake City and all of Utah.

Living Traditions honors the cultural activities of these groups, which are maintained and handed down from generation to generation, and are based on traditional practices, techniques and materials. Some are thousands of years old, some are only performed at community celebrations, and others are practiced within families on a daily basis. Join the festivities at Salt Lake’s favorite outdoor event!

Concert Events in Salt Lake City

A Cultural Tradition of Events in Salt Lake City

From its beginning, The Living Traditions Festival has been an event by Salt Lake, For Salt Lake. The Living Traditions Festival has a more than 30 year of history of welcoming spring to our vibrant state with events in for everyone. Put on every year by the Salt Lake Arts Council at the beautiful City and County Buildings and Library Square, the Living Traditions Festival is a can’t miss event for both Salt Lake Natives and visitors. With Concerts, Art Shows, Dance Performances and more, Living Traditions Festival has always sought to showcase the rich tapestry of cultures that make Salt Lake the great city it is. Living Traditions welcomes one and all to join in free festivities taking place, and learn something about their fellow Utahns!


The Living Traditions Festival is committed to celebrating and presenting Salt Lake City’s diverse authentic ethnic and folk arts and their respective communities and cultural traditions. The Living Traditions Festival showcases diversity in this yearly downtown event in Salt Lake City. The vision for this SLC event is to bring together backgrounds from all over Utah and around the world to showcase the similarities in culture each one shares. The hope is to one day create even more events in salt lake city, similar to the Living Traditions Festival. Attractions include arts and crafts, food trucks from around salt lake city.


To share the richness of our community’s cultural diversity, by presenting them through the performing, crafts & culinary arts and showcasing them in a festive, educational and respectful manner. We hope that events in Salt Lake City will take inspiration to showcase future diversity in respected regions across Utah.

We will achieve this mission by:

  • Providing a platform & venue for local ethnic communities to share their cultural heritage through concerts and performances in the downtown Salt Lake City area
  • Sharing different cultural heritages with younger audiences, at these events in Salt Lake City, to encourage the continued support and participation for future generations
  • Assisting local ethnic communities in preserving and continuing their respective cultural traditions, and to help build pride and identity for these groups

Living Traditions 30th Bio

In 2015, the Salt Lake City Arts Council celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Living Traditions Festival.  It was a great time to reflect on the memories, experiences and amazing stories that we have all shared throughout the 30 year history of the event. For the 2015 festival, we highlighted 12 groups/organizations that have been a part of the attraction since the first year. We asked them to share some of their stories, discuss their art forms, culture and community and their history with the Living Traditions Festival.

The festival began in May 1986 at the This is The Place State Monument as a part of national touring art installation called the “Prairie Ship Liberty”. At each stop of the “ship,” the artists asked the local community to put together an ethnic festival to celebrate America’s diversity. Salt Lake City was chosen as one of the locations for the exhibit to make a stop at, and there was the beginnings of the inaugural Living Traditions Festival. It has since been a staple event in Salt Lake City.

Brochure Cover from 1986 Event

LT Program Guide from 1986

Get to Know Salt Lake

Whether you’re as Utah as it gets or a first time visitor there is no better place to get to know the city and its people. Our events showcasing the unique history and culture of Salt Lake City have something to teach even Salt Lake natives about their home town. Visitors may not realize just how many different cultures have decided to make Salt Lake City their home, and the Living Traditions Festival encourages them to make their first or fiftieth visit to Salt Lake a memorable one.

Photo Gallery – All Event Photos Courtesy of Salt Lake City Photo Collective Studios

Meet some of the performers who make this event’s concerts so special, with representatives from the Pacific Islands, Europe, and Latin America, one may be surprised at just how diverse their Salt Lake Neighbors are. All of the performers below will be staging memorable events at the three day free festival in downtown salt lake.

Video Interviews Courtesy of Salt Lake City Photo Collective Studios

Salt Lake History Minute Courtesy of SLCTV


Face To Face with Living Traditions Salt Lake Events Performers

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be worth event more. Check out the video links below to learn more about the vibrant history of downtown Salt Lake’s favorite events. Including interviews with the Castillo Family band, the Utah Basque Club, and many others. These are just some of the people who come together at the Living Traditions Festival to give all Salt Lake City Residents and Visitors a snapshot into their cultural lives. Sharing their music, their food, their traditional dances and more, hear from the people who make Living Traditions one of the favorite events in Salt Lake.