Getting ready for the Provo Rooftop Concert Series’ last show this weekend is “bittersweet” for CEO and co-founder Sarah Wiley.
“And the sweet is not about it ending,” Wiley said. “I don’t think anyone’s happy about it ending, but the sweet is just about another great show. It’s just another really amazing lineup and chance to celebrate good music and Provo.”
The series finale Friday is set to spotlight local rock bands The Moth & The Flame, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me and The Backseat Lovers.
“We really wanted to have The Moth & The Flame come back because they have played a number of times for Rooftop,” Wiley said. “I didn’t want the final season to go without a The Moth & The Flame show.”
Rooftop’s organizers have also followed co-headliner I Don’t Know How But They Found Me’s Dallon Weekes, a long-time member of the Provo music scene, through various groups, Panic! at the Disco most recently.
“I actually thought it was a pipe dream to get I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, but I reached out to Dallon just with the thought that maybe,” Wiley said. “He was really, really excited, and he seemed honored for the invitation.”
The Backseat Lovers are also a band Wiley has had her eye on for a while.
“I have seen them play and they’ve been great, and I’ve just seen them working hard and building a following,” Wiley said. “They’re young and up-and-coming.”
Brandon Robbins, The Moth & The Flame’s frontman, said the group feels “very honored to be able to do the final show.”
“Rooftop has contributed so much to the community of Provo. I moved to Provo in 2008, so it’s pretty much been there as long as I have known Provo,” Robbins said. “I haven’t really known Provo without it, so it’ll be a strange feeling not to have it in the future. We’re going to be bummed to not have it anymore.”
The band has some tricks up its sleeve for Friday’s concert, according to Robbins.
“Mostly, we just want to have a memorable show and have a sense of community because that’s what this has been from the beginning,” Robbins said. “It’s been a lot of people giving and donating a lot of their time to make this work.”
“All of these people coming together downtown to see bands that are local … is something that you don’t see in a lot of places,” Robbins added. “It’s for a love of community, and that’s so unique to Provo.”
Robbins said The Moth & The Flame always wanted to be a part of Rooftop.
“That was one of the main goals was to play and eventually headline the Rooftop Concert Series, so that was a big motivator for us,” Robbins said. “It gave us a chance to be on a big stage in front of a lot of people, and that’s not something that most local bands are able to do. … It does a lot of things to help a band gain that confidence that they will need if they want to advance on to a larger scale and to a larger stage.”
The series’ 10th and final season this year also featured Rooftop favorites like The National Parks, Joshua James and Sego.
“The biggest challenge is not having enough slots to be able to really feature everyone,” Wiley said. “There were so many bands that we could choose from who could’ve filled out this lineup and been great, so I guess that’s a blessing in this area to have access to so many great musicians and so many bands that were eager to contribute.”
Wiley also considered including a group like Imagine Dragons or Neon Trees in this year’s concerts.
“The stars did not align for those, but everyone I reached out to wanted to,” Wiley said. “It just doesn’t always work out with the tour schedules and management and budgets and just all the logistics that go into it.”
Scheduling issues also prevented the series from putting on a tribute show this season. But Paul Jacobsen, who organized the tribute shows, performed with his band at the July Rooftop concert.
“We had a hard time finding a good slot that worked for everybody for that one, so that was probably my only regret, that we couldn’t pull that together this time,” Wiley said. “The tribute shows are always a favorite, and thankfully, we’ve had eight great ones. I wouldn’t be surprised if that element found a way to live on.”
The Rooftop co-founder said she feels proud, anxious and nostalgic as the final Provo Rooftop Concert Series show approaches.
“Ten years is long enough to take kids from being toddlers to teenagers or from teenagers to adults, and so people have meaningful, impactful life stories around Rooftop,” Wiley said. “We have bands who play now as young adults who can talk about having gone as young kids and dreamed of having the chance to play, and that’s amazing.”
Wiley’s own family, downtown Provo and the local music scene have changed since the series began.
“Provo’s had a vibrant, strong music community well before Rooftop existed, but it certainly gave it another dimension, and many bands have grown up and have formed and worked towards the goal of being able to perform on our stage,” Wiley said. “None of that is really what we expected or knew would happen, but it’s definitely rewarding to see so many good outcomes.”
She hopes people have a great time at the last concert, continue supporting other artistic events, keep visiting downtown Provo and get involved in the community.
“Individual citizens can make a difference, and it’s definitely a lot of work and it takes a lot of coordination and maybe not just anyone is going to want to put the time and energy into it, but it’s definitely possible and the community appreciates it.” Wiley said. “If you have ideas, make them happen.”