By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Windsor is actively seeking sponsors for its Summer Nights on the Green after donations fell off for the popular concert series.
Windsor officials are reaching out to businesses and corporations to help subsidize the Thursday evening live music in the heart of town.
“It’s our signature event. It really puts us on the map,” Windsor Mayor Robin Goble said of the concerts, estimated to draw up to 9,000 people an event for the
most popular bands.
Business sponsorships grew steadily after they were first solicited four years ago for the event, now going into its 13th season.
But after reaching a peak in 2011 at $58,000, they dropped last year to $38,000, said Donna Legge, Windsor’s park and recreation director.
She said businesses blamed the tough economy for shrinking their budgets.
As a result, in 2012, there was a $28,000 gap in the $66,000 it cost the town to put on Summer Nights on the Green, which run from mid-June to mid-August.
“We are being energized about going out and getting those,” Goble said of business sponsorships. “We’re also letting the community know there is a bit of a gap about what gets sponsored and what we need to pay for.”
She said the town is looking to implement a “text to donate” where individual concertgoers can use their smartphones to donate.
And Town Council members and park and recreation commissioners may circulate through the crowd collecting cash donations, Goble said. The call for handouts comes on the heels of last week’s budget review showing Windsor in “good, solid financial shape.”
But Goble said the Town Council wants entertainment events, such as the concerts and the Fourth of July fireworks show, to be self-supporting. Otherwise, she said, it comes out of the general fund and means less money for “infrastructure repairs and ongoing services.”
“We still hope business and corporate-type sponsors carry the bulk of the weight,” she said.
Windsor’s Summer Nights on the Green are among the biggest and most popular free live music events in Sonoma County. Music may be the main attraction, but the event also is about food, perhaps sipping an adult beverage and kicking back on the four-acre Green.
People can picnic on the grass, or visit the adjacent farmers market. There’s also a family play area with kids’ toys, bean bag toss and volleyball.
“The layout of the Green lends itself for the audience to engage with the band,” Legge said. “Bands like it and people get to dance. They’re having a great time. Kids are out there dancing. Grandmas and grandpas are out there dancing.”
The town puts on eight of 12 concerts that are part of the series and the remaining four are staged by the farmers market.
The town has different levels of sponsorship ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. At the $5,000 gold level, sponsors get to display a 3-by-10-foot custom banner during the concert. At the $2,500 silver level, it’s a shared banner.
Thursday is the deadline for potential sponsors who want to be on this season’s marketing and promotional materials.
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.