One important change in the Board of Selectmen’s proposed budget from last year is a reduction in the town’s subsidy of Concerts on the Green, which are held every summer next to town hall.
According to the budget proposed to the Board of Finance two weeks ago, the town would reduce its Concert on the Green subsidy by $3,000 — from $6,400 to $3,400.
With this reduction, the number of concerts would drop from 11 per summer to eight. Shows would run every Sunday from July 9 to Aug. 27.
Potential cuts in state aid and an increase in interest payments owed by the town for capital project bonds forced the selectmen to present a budget with a 4.3% overall increase, though it included many cuts — like some funds from the Concerts on the Green.
The town has an eight-year history of helping fund the Concerts on the Green, beginning during the Great Recession.
“[Eight] years ago, [personal and business] donations used to cover the band, the stage, the police, and the porta-johns,” Park & Recreation Director Rob Blick said by phone on Monday.
“But we asked the town a few years ago to help kick in for the police and porta-johns, so all of the donated funds could go to the bands,” he said.
Four years later, in 2011, Park & Recreation requested additional funding for the concerts, which are widely considered a beloved aspect of Redding’s summers. The additional funding was needed to pay for police officer coverage.
This year, rather than eliminating the subsidy for Concerts on the Green completely, the town decided to reduce the number of concerts.
But that’s not the end of the story, Blick said.
If the Park & Recreation Department is able to raise $3,000 more than it usually raises in personal and business donations for the Concerts on the Green, it will add three concerts back onto the schedule.
“It’s a Redding tradition,” Blick said. “Redding only has a few neighborhoods, and it’s a place for people to come together.
“I’m hopeful people will be happy to add back a couple of concerts” by making personal or business donations, he said.
Businesses may sponsor a particular week’s Concert on the Green for a pre-set cost, and residents are welcome to make donations of any amount.
If a business chooses to become a sponsor, it is:
- Allowed to put up signage at the event.
- Included in stage announcements.
- Listed in the seasonal concert handout.
- Listed at the top of the weekly insert.
- Listed in newspaper announcements.
- Able to set up a table at the event.
The bands playing this year’s Concerts on the Green so far, in order, are:
- The Stoneband (R&B and rock).
- What it is (funk, soul).
- Doug Hartline (gentle jazz).
- Terrapin (Grateful Dead covers).
- Catfish (“feel good” music).
- Southern Voices (modern country).
- The Bob Button Big Band (big band era).
- Yippee Coyote (rock and roots).