Mind the Gap Music Festival

Mind the Gap Music Festival•August 26, 2023•The Gateway

Reviewed and Photographed by Logan Fang

To celebrate National Women’s Equality Day on August 26th, Live Nation Women hosted a festival featuring various female artists at The Gateway. Titled “Mind the Gap”, this festival focused on bringing to light the gaps in equality that many women face in their lives, be it through disparities in income, political representation, or educational attainment. In partnership with Salt Lake Community College, Mind the Gap donated a portion of ticket sales towards funding scholarships for students in the entertainment industry. Hence, this concert was an excellent way to spread awareness and help remedy the gender gaps that are quite prevalent in Utah. 

This ecstatic, but nearly 12 hour festival hosted 18 bands and artists from around the country here in Salt Lake. Starting from 11 AM going to almost 11 PM, the performances were sprinkled throughout the day. The venue featured two stages on opposite ends of the The Gateway that seemed to be occupied at all times. Wherever I was standing on the plaza, I could hear live music from each end of The Gateway. Having two stages enabled artists to perform back-to-back and minimized the time wasted in construction and deconstruction of sets and gear.

Photo Credit: Logan Fang

As soon as one band’s set ended, concert goers made the trek to the other side of The Gateway to watch the next show. It was an unexpected, yet smart way to fit in as many bands during the day as possible. There was always someone performing. However, I only managed to catch the last 4 artists, as I arrived late that afternoon. Even so, the energy by both the audience and bands remained high. Fans eagerly rushed back and forth between the merch stand and the live performances.

Along the connecting pathway between both stages sat a long line of booths selling things like kombucha, pizza, and what seemed to be a smashing hit, freshly pressed lemonade. In between sets, I took a look at the different vendors. One that particularly stood out to me was a vintage clothing pop up inside of a retrofitted school bus. You would hoist yourself up inside this bus and along the sides of the cabin were clothing you could purchase. I hadn’t seen anything like it before, but it was a fun addition to the concert atmosphere. 

Destroy Boys

The first band that I saw was Destroy Boys. This punk rock band from Sacramento had a stage presence like no other. Between the crowd surfing, repetitive interactions with the audience, and other little antics, I found them to be a joy to watch and photograph. The energy was contagious. At one point during the set, the crowd pushed over the barrier that was at the front of the stage. Standing among the other audience members, I found myself caught in a mosh pit, but luckily, I escaped alive (whew).

Approaching 4:00, I was surprised to see this kind of energy from the audience. The music itself  however, was an enjoyable listen. It was a blend of punk and hard rock that was quite captivating. Their grungy, rock-like, attire lent itself quite well to the overall feel to their music too. One of the most memorable parts of their performance was when they would begin their songs with a relatable quip or statement (sometimes expletive) that they would then encourage the audience to yell along with them. These were powerful moments. Their statements often addressed important issues like self-esteem for young women and the equality gap. Hence, I found it to be an interesting way to unite the theme of this festival with their empowering performance. 

Orion’s Sun

After watching the stellar performance put on by Destroy Boys, I ventured over to the other side of the venue in anticipation for Orion Sun’s set. Immediately, I saw that the crowd had already started forming around the front of the stage. Talking with the audience members, I quickly learned that Orion Sun was a popular favorite of the lineup. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the set kicked off with some of her well-known songs.”Just like me”. The crowd was immediately entranced by the intricate blend of synths, bass drops, and ethereal melodies.

The dazzling visual effects that accompanied their set transformed the stage into a futuristic realm. Transporting everyone on a cosmic journey. The relaxing drumbeats and calming melodies set the tone as we transitioned into the evening. The emotional weight of each of her songs also seemed to calm the audience down. The poetic quality to her song “Antidote” made this song a personal favorite of mine. Especially in “Antidote”. Orion’s style of music reminded me of Daniel Caesar and Kali Ulchis, with some heavy undertones of Frank Ocean. However she proves her versatility in navigating different genres like hip hop and indie pop in more rhythmic songs like “intro” and “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” It seemed she had something to offer for a bunch of different music tastes, which I believe is what made her set so appealing to the massive crowd that gathered to watch her perform.

Coco and Clair Clair

The next performance that I watched was by Coco and Clair Clair. This hip-hop indie folk duo was a fun listen. At the beginning of their set, Coco talked about her past visit to Salt Lake. She remarked that she was happy the audience was much more enthused this time around, as last time it seemed, the crowd was quite lackluster. The catchy, funny lyrics by Coco accompanied by the soft melodies of Clair Clair made their set quite interesting. Their style of music reminded me of something from Doja Cat. Another elaborate part of their performance was their attire. Coco wore a unique short dress that resembled the plumage of a bird, while Clair Clair sported a large pair of sunglasses and a denim overcoat. I found that their more outlandish attire matched the unique and upbeat quality to their music. 


Now that the sun had finally set, I made my way back over to the other stage for Yaeji’s performance. Similar to Orion Sun, this Korean-American artist masterfully blurred the lines between genres as she mixed house, techno, hip-hop, and K-pop. The EDM techno lighting added to the unique. As she emerged from the shadows to her signature track “raingurl,” the crowd erupted into ecstatic cheers, setting the tone for a night of awe. Yaeji’s unique blend of ethereal vocals, thumping basslines you’d expect of club music, and intricate synth textures created a mesmerizing experience. One of my favorite parts of the set however was not just the singing though. Yaeji brought with her two dancers who she performed alongside with. 

The stunning visual displays that accompanied her set immersed the audience in a world of vibrant colors, abstract shapes, and hypnotic animations. The synchronization between the visuals and the music heightened the experience. I felt submerged into an immersive avant-garde environment that felt like stepping into a living piece of art. Not to lose track of the vocals though, Yaeji’s distinctive feature was her ability to fluidly switch between English and Korean in her lyrics.

Upbeat songs like “WAKING UP DOWN” showcased her linguistic dexterity. Meanwhile, well known tracks like “One More” and “Therapy” had the entire venue moving to the beat. Transcending what we traditionally know as a “concert,” Yaeji focused on crafting an overall experience for audience members by incorporating artistic visuals and innovative soundscapes in her set. 

Beach Bunny

Photo Credit: Logan Fang

Now well into the night, the crowd buzzed with excitement for Beach Bunny’s much anticipated set. While we were waiting, stagehands occupied the stage and entertained the crowd as they inflated a huge purple heart. The presence of the inflatable sent a ripple of gasps across the audience and many whipped out their photos to grab a picture of it. Shortly after the heart was fully towering over the stage, the set began with a blast of colorful lights as Beach Bunny trotted on stage to perform their first song, “Dream Boy.” Lead singer Lili Trifilio’s voice echoed through the plaza. As the set continued, the melodies of tracks like “Oxygen” and “Sports” filled the air. Lili’s heartfelt lyrics and relatable themes were wholesome to listen to.

On an upbeat song, some audience members who still had the energy in them, formed a mosh pit at the front of the stage. As they neared the end of their set, Beach Bunny performed one of their biggest hits “Prom Queen” as the crowd joined them on the chorus. While I couldn’t stay for the remainder of the performance, I left enthusiastic but also a bit sad I had to leave.

Overall, I thought the festival was a good way to tackle issues about gender equity. As I was leaving, I reflected on how music, especially with the resources of Live Nation, can be a platform for enacting change. For women and gender minority artists who lack adequate opportunities to emerge in the music world, it takes festivals like these to move the needle, but it’s possible. I hope to see Mind the Gap make a return to Salt Lake next year. 

Setlist for Beach Bunny:

Dream Boy 
Good Girls 
6 Weeks 
Love Sick 
Prom Queen 
Color Blind 
Nice Guys 
Cuffing Season 
Blame Game 
Cloud 9 

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