About / History


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

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.


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.


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 will achieve this mission by:

  • Providing a platform & venue for local ethnic communities to share their cultural heritage
  • Sharing these cultural heritages with younger audiences 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. For the 2015 festival, we highlighted 12 groups/organizations that have been a part of the festival 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.

KRCL’s Lara Jones spoke with Carol Edison and Craig Miller, who have been part of the Living Traditions Festival since it began 30 years ago. The R.O.I. on Living Traditions

Brochure Cover from 1986

LT Program Guide from 1986

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

Video Interviews Courtesy of Salt Lake City Photo Collective Studios

Salt Lake History Minute Courtesy of SLCTV