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Utah’s Underground Music Culture

It may come as a surprise to many to learn that Salt Lake City is home to many counter-cultures, including a long-standing and energetic music community. This community includes local bands, promoters, fans and the record stores and concert venues that support them. Oftentimes the history of underground communities is not easily archived. Items related to concerts, such as posters, handbills, and ticket stubs are ephemeral by design, and are usually discarded once a concert is over. When this happens, history and memory is forgotten, and counter-culture remains under the radar.

However, the Marriott Library Special Collections has several collections that document aspects of the music community, from the 1960s to present day. They include posters from venues such as The Terrace Ballroom, The Salt Palace Arena, The Union Ballroom, Kilby Court, as well as numerous bars and private clubs. The posters highlight bands large and small—ranging from The Who, Three Dog Night, Love and Alice Cooper to indie bands such as Built to Spill, the Decemberists, and Daniel Johnston, as well as numerous local bands.

These items, and more, can be found in the Leia Bell papers (, The Utah Music collection ( ), and the Bruce Roberts papers ( among many.

The history of the underground music community is complemented by other Special Collections holdings, such as SLUG magazine, The Utah Daily Chronicle, and our extensive poster collection located in the Print and Journal Department.

Please visit the Special Collections Reading Room on Level 4 of the J. Marriott Library, Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Written by Julia Huddleston

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