Utah’s Bonanza Campout Cancelled After Issues With State

Published on May 11, 2019

One thing is for sure, and that’s the fact that Utah isn’t known for its killer and easy to understand laws regarding how people can buy and consume alcohol. Utah’s Bonanza Campout festival announced on Wednesday that it had no choice but to cancel the event altogether after a massive dispute with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) left it without a permit to sell or allow alcohol at the three-day camping festival. Now, with no answer in-sight, the future of the event remains uncertain.

Bonanza Campout

Much to the surprise of many people outside of the Utah area, the state is a hotspot for major music events due to its young population. The median age of the state is around 27, with most of the population sitting under 54 years old. It’s capital city, Salt Lake City, is a bustling college town with dozens of live music venues that offer experiences nearly every night of the week. Even it’s notoriously religious area around Brigham Young University is home to bands like Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees. With all of that being said, it should come as no surprise that the famously nature-driven state is also the perfect place for a camping festival. Thus, Bonanza Campout was born.

The three-day festival that takes place in the Wasatch mountains, just 1 hour east of Salt Lake City, had its inaugural event back in 2016. Since then, the event has grown significantly and seen performances from major acts like Halsey, Lauryn Hill, Zhu, and Wiz Khalifa. The logical next step for the camping festival was to move locations, as it was quickly outgrowing its venue because it was the only festival of its kind between the midwest and Las Vegas. This years’ event was scheduled to see appearances from acts like Empire of the Sun, Machine Gun Kelly, and Chromeo. However, it was cancelled after being denied the right permits to be able to have alcohol at the festival. For a camping event, this was an integral part of the experience.


“Due to being denied the necessary licensing and permits from Wasatch County and the DABC (Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control), Bonanza Campout has made the decision to cancel this year’s event,” reads an open letter posted to the event’s Facebook page on Wednesday. “Our team is committed to providing top-tier fan experiences and works year-round to curate and produce a world-class festival environment. After reviewing all alternative options, we have come to the conclusion that there is no possible way to relocate the festival and still provide both artists and attendees with the same level of production and fan experience that Bonanza Campout has become known for,” the letter explained.

Music Industry Changes

Bonanza isn’t the only festival making major changes thank’s to legal troubles, though. After a less than successful 2019 event, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival has announced that it will be moving to a new permanent location starting in 2020. After over two decades in Miami’s city limits, the loss of the festival will mean major changes to the city’s tourism each spring. Ultra brought with it other types of tourism, as the entire electronic music industry gathered each year for the annual Winter Music Conference and other events throughout the city’s massive and famous club scene.

Bonanza Campout hopes to be back for its 2020 event. In the meantime, though, it’s parent company Live Nite Events is still hard at work hosting music events all over the state. If you had your heart set on a festival this summer, though, Utah’s Das Energi Festival is its all-electronic counterpart.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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