New World Presents, the company behind some of the biggest underground music events consistently happening in Salt Lake, first took us on a trip to deep space just two years ago when they launched at the Photo Collective. Since then, their steady rise has made them somewhat of a household name among local music lovers in the community. Their parties in the city began to grow as they relocated from the Photo Collective to The Fallout, where hundreds of people gathered around the block to get into one of the hottest after-hours events downtown. As of late, the company has taken a step back from their warehouse-venue parties to focus on something bigger—their festivals.
Launching in the summer of 2015, the first Lunar Transit Festival found success among New World’s consistent fan base in Salt Lake. “We wanted to create something that’s close that can be comparable to a high quality music festival,” says Bobby Ward, one of the masterminds behind the project. “Our inspiration was largely to share with our community what we’ve been so inspired by in festivals on the west coast like Lightning In a Bottle and Burning Man and we really felt like there was this lack of transformational spiritual energy in our general community,” adds Chad Wing, who co-creates much of the art that New World is responsible for as well as lending a hand in putting on the shows. “We really wanted to create that environment where people could come express themselves freely,” he says.
The planning behind Lunar Transit was created with the idea of providing a festival experience to those who otherwise couldn’t travel far to attend larger productions. “What we felt we needed to do was cultivate this expectation of going to a festival. A lot of the people in salt lake have never been to a camping festival, so our goal is to offer something close for people who come to our parties in the city,” says Wing. In addition, the other focus is to help put Utah on the map in terms of being a destination known for its musicians. “A lot of locals are aware of the local producers and DJ’s … so having all of the local DJ’s come to lunar transit in this mega collaboration helps elevate their talents,” says Samir Suthar, another co-creator of the art installments. “These guys need to be seen outside of Utah. Record labels and managers need to know that Utah is overflowing with talent,” adds Suthar. The group also saw an opportunity to share their favorite musicians with our local community through Lunar Transit. “We all love the people we fly out [to play] and we want to share with our growing community that isn’t necessarily well versed in this music yet,” says Wing. “We want to give this big platform for what we think is an unbelievably good local lineup [because] we think our locals could stand up to any other big DJ in any big city,” he says.”
What differentiates any New World event from many other music events in Utah, however, is their focus on integrating art and experiences into the event to promote interactivity on a deeper level than one would get from simply attending a concert. “We really want to continue to promote that understanding that you have to interact with everything and everyone,” says Wing. “The original idea I had with the [Aural Heart] was to make something interactive that would make the participant vulnerable but was also a well-known symbol that I could easily take to other festivals,” says Suthar of the Aural Heart, an interactive art installment that will make its debut at the spring Lunar Transit Festival. “The heart has a pulse sensor and you don’t really get to experience other people in that way at a festival—I thought it was a cool way to make people vulnerable in a way that I haven’t seen done before,” he adds.
Though their art installments have become just as well known, and appear at other festivals and music events around the city and state regularly, the group will be focusing on juxtaposing their current style with other mediums. “Our current aesthetic is very clean, streamlined and modular architecture structures so I wanted to pay homage to the land that we’re going to be throwing the festival on and install some kind of land art that will contrast to the pieces we already have going,” says Camille Overmoe, another artist and co-creator with New World. The focus of any New World event is to integrate a learning environment with a laidback social atmosphere, but the group wants to take it one step further with Lunar Transit by encouraging members of the community to contribute to the event, as well as focus on leaving no trace and using sustainable resources.
Lunar Transit will bring a lot of new experiences for those who are familiar with the art and overall aesthetic of a New World event. The group has spent countless hours planning an entirely new stage production in addition to the many art installments that are being brought to the event. Artists from around Utah will be contributing their own installments and holding pop-up shops at the festival (which was free of charge for the artists, as New World wants to give people the opportunity to share their creativity at no cost). “Our theme is this other worldly experience—this new aesthetic that you’ve never really seen before so I keep that in mind as I’m designing,” says Wing. “I want to create this aesthetic where people feel like they’ve temporarily stepped into this alternate reality or planet,” he says of the design strategy behind the New World art.
Since their humble beginnings in the Photo Collective, New World has proven to be a rare gem in our budding local art community. Lunar Transit will take place at Fort Buenaventura in Ogden, Utah, with performances by artists like Atish, Artemis, Better Homes & Gardens, Crystalroes and Eights Everywhere. The event is all ages (minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian) and offers camping for the weekend.