Free street concert in Breck now put on hold
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE ” The Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF) is running out of time to pay the band if it wants to let people dance in the streets.
Jeff Baum, executive director of the BMF, is trying to produce at least one free street concert this summer in Breckenridge, but so far, the town hasn’t given him the nod of approval he wants.
The town denied his grant proposal to fund a free street concert series to replace the ticketed Blue River Series traditionally held at the Riverwalk Center. Then, in April, Baum and the Breckenridge Resort Chamber (BRC) e-mailed a survey asking business owners if they would support a free concert.
Out of 460 members, 341 of which were on the e-mail list, 74 responded, creating what Baum calls a “very strong” 21.7 percent sampling of the members on the e-mail list and a “very respectable” 16.1 percent sampling of the entire membership. Ninety-four percent said they supported a free concert in Breckenridge.
But Baum wants more than just business owners’ support. He wants the town’s approval. At the last town council meeting, he asked for a statement of support from councilmembers but received no response.
It turns out he asked at an inopportune time ” during the presentation portion of the meeting, when it was neither expected or appropriate for councilmembers to respond, said Councilmember Jeffrey Bergeron.
Baum says rather than seeking financial support at this point, he’s looking for the statement of support so he can assure possible sponsors that the town backs a series of free summer concerts.
Some concerns town council has about approving a street concert series involves the complications in Baum’s proposal. He wants to use money from concession sales to fund the concerts. At the Riverwalk Center’s concession sales, the town gets a portion of the proceeds to help pay for the structure.
“I don’t think the town is interested in funding someone and having them control concessions,” Councilmember J.B. Katz said. “If someone came to council to ask for permission for a street concert, it might be different than, ‘I want your money.'”
However, there’s also concern about free concerts, both for financial and town character purposes.
“The town council does not generally support free concerts because they don’t think they need to do that now and they don’t get the bang for their buck,” Katz said, adding she personally supports a high-quality rock or pop concert, free or not.
Every day that goes by without a statement of support from the council makes it harder to pull off a summer concert, Baum said.
“I’m still very appreciative of the town’s support of the BMF (it funds the classical concerts), but I’m personally a little frustrated because I’m trying to get this done,” Baum said. “Every time I turn around, I hit a brick wall.
An appropriate time to ask for town council support would be during the public comment period, which takes place at the beginning of each meeting. At that time, people can share their concerns.
It’s up to the council whether or not they weigh in on the issue, said Kim DiLallo, Breckenridge events and communications manager.
Until then, Baum wants to know why the town’s support seems to be so different than the BRC membership support.
“My guess is it’s different in the survey,” Bergeron said. “You can say ‘Yeah, sure.’ Then when you consider the actual event ” how much will it cost? Where will it be? What about parking? What’s the event going to do to other businesses? … that’s what the town would have to weigh. I don’t think the council is dead set against a concert in town. There’s just so much we don’t know.”
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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