Sundance canceled? Don’t tell these partygoers.

When the Sundance Film Festival announced that it would be canceling all in-person events because of the pandemic two weeks before it began, festival-goers could be forgiven for thinking the party was over.

There will be no screenings at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Utah. There are no swag lounges along Main Street. No celebrity has seen the Tao Park City pop-up club.

But that didn’t stop Rebecca Fielding, 34, who deals with clients for an interior design firm in Manhattan, from boarding her flight. When she arrived last weekend, she spent the day at a spa before hobbling at the Main Street club with hundreds of people bouncing around partying and bumping into each other on the dance floor.

“This is fun,” she said, looking to join them. “A lot of people are here.”

Sundance may have gone virtual this year (shows through January 30 have moved online), but many movie buffs and movie buffs still make the pilgrimage to Park City. Despite the lack of official events, they still find ways to party, drink, and even watch movies.

Jennifer 8. Lee, 45 years old, a documentary producer from New York City who has hosted housing and activities for hundreds of movie lovers in Sundance since 2007. “This is also true. larger than in previous years. people are still willing to come. We even got more people after the festival was cancelled.”

Through her group of movie lovers, Good side, she has arranged for 80 to 100 people to stay over 12 houses in Park City; guests paid up to $500 a night for a room. (While Ms. Lee’s team allows guests to buy off each other’s bookings, many hotel rooms and Airbnbs are non-refundable or only eligible for partial refunds or credits when Sundance is cancelled.) the airline only offers flight credits.)

Last Saturday night, Ms. Lee hosted a screening of one of the festival’s most talked-about films – Lena Dunham’s “Sharp Stick”, a comedy about a 26-year-old babysitter in Los Angeles. Angeles, who lost her virginity to her employer—at her mountainside six-bedroom rental on Woodside Avenue, a few blocks from town.

About 20 people piled up on couches and floors, drinking cocktails and snacking on homemade dumplings and curry popcorn, while a movie was played on a screen that one of the guests had brought. To minimize the risk, all guests are required to take a Covid test.

“There was enough critical mass that we could do our own events,” said Ms. Lee, a former reporter for The New York Times. After the screening, there was a group discussion about the film.

Other houses take turns showing movies and holding dinner parties. “We can show five movies a day all over the house,” says Ms. Lee.

After the movie, the action shifts to the restaurants and bars around town. At Courchevel Bistro, patrons dressed in fur coats and leather pants will dine on grilled Brie and elk. At No Name Saloon Bar & Grill, a buzzing sports bar nearby, waiters wear “Sundance 2022” shirts and serve tequila to guys in flannel shirts and cowboy boots.

There seem to be very few celebrity parties that are usually held during Sundance to promote movies, fashion labels and other popular brands.

“Without a festival, we have to be more creative in finding ways to entertain them,” said Lucien Alwyn Campbell, VIP rental concierge at Park City. “There were four groups that went skiing. We hosted seven parties last night with private chefs for tenants.”

He also organizes house parties. “Usually, people come to Tao pop-ups during Sundance,” said Mr. Campbell, 37, “but obviously we didn’t have it this year, so we had to create late-night venues to let us in. everyone danced.”

However, local bars and clubs remain open and are in fact easier to patronize as there are no invite-only parties that go wrong. Downstairs, a popular Main Street club, has a special lineup of DJs and VIP tables for as little as $100 for four.

On Saturday night, DJ Spider performed a mix of hip-hop and house music at a crowded dance floor. By 10:30, the flow of people was flooded with 15 people; most of them appeared to be in their 20s and 30s, and many wore Canadian Goose parkas and cowboy hats. Partygoers without masks jostled each other on the small dance floor until 2 a.m.

“Through this,” said a young waitress in tight black clothes, shouting “I’m Too Sexy” as she fought through the crowd with bottles of tequila.

In part, because it was last-minute, the cancellation of this year’s Sundance contract is unlikely to have as much of an impact on local businesses as last year, said Brooks Kirchheimer, president of the Park City Chamber of Commerce. “This is really great for Park City,” he said. “Usually people come to town and just sit in the cinema for eight days. Now, these people are looking at Park City from a different perspective. They are carrying out different activities”.

That includes skiing.

Many visitors have talked about how they really have had time to hit the slopes this year, and that taking advantage of Park City’s great skiing and lifts along Main Street is as great as it gets. how.

“I’ve been coming to Sundance since 2001,” said Elisa Briles, 47, communications director at a technology company in San Francisco. “This is my first time focusing on skiing at Sundance. Usually I’m too busy going to the movies and partying.”

Miss Briles is spending the afternoon at a bar in Deer Valley St. Regis near Classic room, a large, conservatory-like lounge that opened last month atop Deer Valley. On that Friday afternoon, the waiting room was packed with festival-goers dressed in metal snowcoats and fur boots, Champagne and brilliant oysters.

Ms Briles said: “I wouldn’t say it’s like a movie festival, but it sure feels like a really fun skiing weekend. “I still stay with my friends. We’re still meeting really cool people.” Sundance canceled? Don’t tell these partygoers.

Fry Electronics Team

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