Summer Concert Series in Jeopardy

The summer tradition could come to an end unless the Parks & Recreation Department can find donations or bands to play for free.

A longtime summer tradition may be in jeopardy after cuts to the Warren town budget.

The cuts could spell the end of the annual summer concert series at bandshell, EastBayRI.com reported. The concert series has been an annual summer staple for 15 years.

The town is having difficulty signing bands to perform, according to Warren Recreation Director Sharon Lombardi. The town cut its usual contribution to the series in half, offering $1,000 this year, the newspaper reported. Lombardi said bands usually charge about $500 to perform. With half the usual money available, she said she doesn't know what will happen.

"We're trying to figure it out," she said Monday. "It's been tough."

Lombardi said she's been talking to officials about creative ways to find bands — discussing a "Battle of the Bands"-type competition, at which bands would play for free and compete for the $1,000 as a grand prize. She is also seeking bands that may want to donate their time to the community. One has signed on so far.

The Warren Town Council approved a $24 million budget, . The budget calls for departmental cuts of up to 10 percent across the board, as well as a level-funding of the Bristol-Warren School District, . The cuts result in a small reduction to the property tax rate — from $17.15 per thousand of taxable value to $17.04.

Lombardi is seeking donations from the public to help keep the concert series alive. To donate or for more information, call the at 401-603-4174.

Gina June 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I love the idea of the battle of the bands...and it might get more young people down there with their families. Maybe just book the bands any way & worry about it later...kind of like the overtime in the police department this year :) I do hope the funding is restored at least partially...it's always a nice time on a warm Summer night on the water. Although I always though there should be more people there...perhaps their wasn't enough advertising. We are lucky that we have alot of talented musicians in the area so maybe once the word gets out about the underfunding some may step up to the plate....What aout a sponsor ? Like Del's Lemonade or one of the bigger businesses in Warren ?
Joe Burns June 12, 2012 at 08:55 PM
What needs to happen is this, First ask local bands if they will donate their time for an hour and half and ask to play. Some bands will. Then offer $100 donation to the band. Second Option. Have someone who will donate THEIR time to go around town and ask for sponsors. (HINT HINT HINT TO SHARON, I WILL DO THIS FOR YOU) Most places of businesses will donate for the people of Warren to enjoy the summer. You MUST keep a detailed document of who donates what. Third option, Go to big corporations in town. Bank Newport, Citizens Bank, Columbus Credit Union, Comsearch, Dunkin Donuts, and many more to sponsor a concert. After you get sponsors go to one of the Town's many printers and ask to print up a schedule that has all the sponsors and donors listed! The Warren Summer Concert Series on Wednesday's night mean a lot to me. Since I was 7 and lived on Beach Street I would ride down the bike path and enjoy the music, I am now 19. To not have this amazing night in town would be really sad and heart breaking. If the recreation director is reading this please respond to the message I had left on the machine. I am willing to do what ever to get these concerts up and going!!!
Jack Baillargeron June 12, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Wonder if they could get the Mount Hope Choir and Band for a couple of sets maybe, they are good, and nice to see the talent that some of them have that is extraordinary. Like the Battle of the band also, only if the judges are knowledgable in all forms of music ;-}. After all like a picture is worth a thousand words, bands are many different flavors to the ear ;-}
Melanie Michaud June 13, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I agree, the Mt Hope High School and KMS have great musical talents!


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