Skip to main content

The City Journals

Concert series reveals the treasure called Hidden Hollow

Aug 22, 2019 05:05PM ● By Deserae Dorton

EMBR plays as part of the Hidden Hollow concert series as the sun sets. (Deserae Dorton/City Journals)

By Deserae Dorton | [email protected]

Sugar House residents Greg Wilding and Jennifer Kohler were having dinner at Spitz on Wilmington Avenue when they saw a sign for the Hidden Hollow concert series. Following the sounds of live music and strategically placed arrows, they were surprised to find a band playing for a small audience in a wooded setting. The pair were delighted to discover the park and the free concert. 

“I never knew about this place,” Wilding said. “It’s cool to find it and see what’s going on in the city.”

Hidden Hollow, a strip of preserved land which runs down the center of the Sugar House Shopping Center (2274 S. 1300 East) hosted a concert series this summer made possible by Utah Open Lands. Many visitors of the shopping center admire the stream which heads west toward the library, but many passersby miss the pathway further east which is a more dense wilderness, including a clearing utilized for this outdoor event. 

Fridays in July showcased many bands at Hidden Hollow, including Kirk Dath, Michael Barrow & The Tourists, Monarchs, Old Man Jam Bands, EMBR and Fear & Loathing for free public concerts. 

Kat Maus, Utah Open Lands outreach director, said the organization does several events throughout the year to fundraise and to get people out to hike and explore an area. But the Hidden Hollow concert series, in its eight year, is unique. 

“One of the reasons we protect property is for public benefit,” Maus said. “If people don’t know it exists, there isn’t a lot of benefit associated with that. We like to get people out and excited about the public spaces we have and then in turn keep them aware about other open space campaigns in the area as well.”

The Salt Lake Valley is growing at an unprecedented rate. In response to this growth, organizations like Utah Open Lands are increasingly important to many residents. The nonprofit, established in 1990, works to protect land for public use and in an effort to preserve Utah’s wilderness and natural beauty from development. 

Hidden Hollow was placed under protection by a conservation easement in 2000, championed by a group of 5th graders who saved it from being turned into a parking lot and from the river being rerouted underground. The easement protects the land regardless of who buys it in the future for perpetuity. It can never be developed.

The kids organized themselves into KOPE kids, (Kids Organized to Protect the Environment) and are honored on plaques throughout Hidden Hollow, which tells their story. 

Almost 20 years later, the preservation of Hidden Hollow is especially stark now that it is surrounded by what Maus calls a sea of dense development. “We like to get the community out and aware of this property,” Maus said, “because people who live in the surrounding area don’t even know that this place exists. [The concert series] is a community engagement event, it’s why we do this.” 

“It’s wonderful,” said Kohler of the event once she and her companion had settled into a seat to enjoy the show. “The little bird show is very nice, that’s what got us to stay. It’s lovely.” 

Kohler was referring to two birds perched with staff members from Earthwings. Earthwings is a bird rescue nonprofit organization, based in Sugar House and were stationed on the path next to the concert. Eric McGill from Earthwings said they were grateful that Utah Open Lands let them come that evening to help get the word out about the importance of preserving bird habitats. 

The Hidden Hollow concert series has ended, but plans are in place for it to return next year. 

To learn how you can get involved with Utah Open Lands, visit utahopenlands.org, and to learn more about Earthwings, visit earthwings.org.