Because fees for the concert stage and events center are still in the review process, the Knights of Columbus and Lions Club requested special pricing for a concert they’re planning to hold in May.
Together, the two organizations are researching what it would take to host a “Lakeside Concert Series” two-night concert at the fairgrounds May 10-11.
Jim Dierking, representing the groups, attended the Dec. 20 park committee meeting.
Dierking said the groups are on a time crunch planning the event, and not having pricing is a big setback.
“We are asking the park board to set special pricing for this event,” Dierking said.
Based on having 2,000 people per night and using the proposed fees, the event would cost more than $7,600 in park fees only, plus insurance, fencing, security and paying bands to perform.
The fees included $500 each night as the base price, $4,000 from ticket sales at $1 per ticket sold, concessions with $1,000 per night in vendor fees for concessions and $600 to close Veterans Drive for two nights. Dierking used figures presented in the draft plan to come up with the figure.
“The only thing we are asking the city to do on this event is run a trash truck through the grounds when the concert is over,” he said. “My committee will take care of the rest of the grounds when it is over.”
Dierking requested pricing not to exceed $500 per night.
“We are hoping to make this event a fun event and show everyone that we can bring in extra revenue for the city and that the stage can be used for other events besides the Fair,” he said.
Tessie Steffens, park board member, said she is glad there is a request to use the amphitheater.
She added that special pricing should be set so the groups can book entertainment and move forward with their plans, “with the understanding that we will review the policy and go from there.”
Sparky Stuckenschneider agreed.
“This is nothing that is setting a precedent. This is the initial event,” he said.
Dierking said ticket pricing has not yet been set, but the concert committee wants to keep tickets as inexpensive as possible.
“If it’s $7,000 we’re not going to do the event,” Dierking told the committee. “We’re going to pull back. It’s just not cost feasible.”
Dierking said there are $18,000 to $20,000 in expenses for fencing, lights, the sound system, johnny-on-the-spots, security, chair rental, insurance and other expenses.
That estimate does not include the cost of the bands or city fees.
The organizations plan to make money solely on concessions and hope the ticket sales will offset the cost of the bands and other fees.
Dan Cassette, board member, suggested that the city allow the organizations to use it for the $500 per night fee with the understanding that if the event is successful a goodwill donation will be donated back to use toward the stage.
“I think that’s a great idea,” Stuckenschneider said.
Committee members reiterated that the pricing is one-time only.
The proposal will move to the full park board meeting the first week of January.