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Freeport Music series cancelled; organizer cites lack of funding PDF Print E-mail
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Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 18:36


    There will be fewer concerts played at Port Washington’s bandshell this year with the announcement that the Freeport Music summer concert series won’t be held.
    Founder Bob Mittnacht, who has been organizing the series for 12 years, said a lack of sponsors has forced cancellation of the concerts.
    “It’s really a financial decision,” he said. “We lost close to half our sponsors last year, and it just didn’t work anymore. We had to dig into our reserves to get last year done, and I couldn’t see any improvement this year — at least not in time for this year’s lineup.
    “It’s sad, but it’s the sponsorship money that makes it possible.”
    Port Washington Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Imig said he was disappointed by the news.
    “It’s unfortunate,” Imig said. “I get it, but what can you do? It’s the funding that makes it happen.”
    The concerts, he said, were an important summer attraction.
    “He always had a mix of bands and music. It was a free concert that brought people into town and provided something for the people in the city as well,” Imig said. “I thought it was good for the city. It will be missed.”
     Imig said his department will fill the void with at least one additional Friday Night Flick movie at the Veterans Park bandshell.
    Mittnacht said he made the announcement “with a heavy heart.”
    “I thought we brought some pretty good music to the city,” he said.
    But, Mittnacht said, the series wasn’t as well-supported as he expected it would be.  Attendance averaged 100 to 150 people — far fewer people than attend similar concerts in neighboring communities.
    “Cedarburg gets 1,000-plus people, and they’re bringing the same level of bands we did,” Mittnacht said. “In Saukville, everybody in town comes out for the Wednesday night (Live at the Triangle) concerts.”
    The difference, he said, is in how much the community values the chance to get together.
    “It’s a community camaraderie thing,” Mittnacht said. “One of the biggest benefits of the concerts is that they’re a time for the community to socialize.
    “I’d like to see people support this not just financially but culturally as well.”
    The Freeport Music series offered free concerts at the Veterans Park bandshell three times during the summer. These concerts typically featured a national act that was making its mark on the music scene but hadn’t hit the big time yet or a group that had been around for a while, as well as a regional opening act.
    The series generally cost $12,000 annually, Mittnacht said.
    Last year, he said, several of his larger sponsors decided not to fund Freeport Music, perhaps because they were supporting other events in the area.
    But Mittnacht said he’s hopeful that new sponsors may step forward and he’ll be able to revive the music series next year.
    “I have pretty high hopes for next year,” he said. “Hopefully, this will be a catalyst to get things back on track for next year. I love doing it.”

 
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