Commentary by Jeff Worrell
If you are like me, you flipped the switch from cool to heat on the furnace in your house. With the warm air blowing across my toes, I was especially surprised to receive a call from long time Carmel High School Teacher Hal Espey, asking me to do a column about the Gazebo Concert Series. To me, Gazebo Concert Series screams hot, humid, summertime fun, so I was confused by his winter timing. Maybe lawn chairs in the snow listening to island reggae is a vibe the committee hopes to capture. However, after talking to Espey, he assured me a concert series while the snow is falling is not in the works. But, the committee is raising the yellow caution flag on the 2014 Concert Series.
For 20 years, countless citizens have enjoyed concerts on the lawn in front of the Gazebo from the first Wednesday evening after school is out to the last Wednesday evening before school starts. It is common to see friends and neighbors connecting and enjoying the music while sipping wine, sharing the latest delicacy from the deli and just enjoying the experience.
But what would be the result if the concerts were to stop? Raising enough money to keep the concerts going is a task which gets more difficult each year. Heading into year 21, Past President Sue Wolfgang sees the sponsorship revenue falling and she is worried. She said, “I think our biggest problem is that people believe this is a city-sponsored event. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While we do use the city grounds and the street department personnel to clean up after the event, the responsibility for funding nine weeks of bands falls on the shoulders of a committee of eight.”
Bands range in price, but the good bands people want to see are asking in the $2,000 range to play the gazebo. Add in the other miscellaneous expenses and multiply it by nine and you have a budget that is more than the current committee can imagine raising based on current conditions. That is where we step in.
Let’s first be clear: The city does not sponsor the event. Corporate sponsors and individual gifts are needed. Maybe with the understanding of how the Wednesday concerts are funded, people who had no idea will step in and find a reason to support the event. If you can help keep the toe tapping alive on Wednesdays in Carmel, visit www.carmelgazeboconcerts.org.