Wednesday January 16, 2013

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The Select Board has given the green light for a summer concert series at the town office that will be managed by a local production company.

"A positive thing"

Dan Turcotte of Phoenix Wing Production and House of Design presented a plan to the board Monday for 16 outdoor concerts that will run on Friday evenings from June into September. The two-hour concerts will feature a variety of bands and music styles, according to Turcotte.

Turcotte said he is hoping to revive the summer music series that was formerly run by the Better Bennington Corp. The music series will provide local musicians a chance to showcase their talents and drive foot traffic downtown, he said.

"Number one, I want to give musicians a time and a place to perform. I also believe that Bennington really needs a quality music series. It's been a long time. I think it will really be a positive thing for the downtown," Turcotte said.

The BBC opted to drop its outdoor summer concert series because the demands of managing it became too great. A month-long series was organized last summer by local resident Michael Bethel. But Turcotte said his company can extend the series.

"We haven't done a music series in Bennington in some time that has gone this long. The last few years it's only been a month," he said.

Turcotte said he will schedule performers and provide necessary equipment. He will also lead fund raising efforts, set-up and staff each concert and help market and promote the events. The BBC will also help promote and market the concerts, according to Turcotte.

The town is only needed to provide the space and electrical outlets for equipment. The town also provides insurance, Turcotte said. However, Turcotte he is assuming liability and his own insurance will cover any damage to the town's property.

"That will be done well before the first show. Our company will be liable for anything that happens on the property," he said.

The proposal shows an estimated budget of $9,600 for the entire 16-week series. According to the proposal, $5,600 will go to artists and $900 will be spent on advertising. Other expenses include banners, printing, supplies and $800 to Turcotte's company for management.

The proposal indicates that $9,000 of the budget will come from sponsorships.

"To make it happen, that would be a minimal thing. I'm hoping that it has community support and there will be more money to go into shows next year. But, you've got to start somewhere," Turcotte said.

The concerts will feature a variety of music, including blues, country, rock and pop, according to Turcotte. All of the musicians will be local. "We are even doing some stuff with the high school band and letting them start off the series," he said.

As of Tuesday, Turcotte said he had booked 14 of the 16 weeks.

The BBC and Select Board member Greg Van Houten have been helpful partners in organizing the series, Turcotte said. He plans to launch a Website soon that will provide more information about the concerts.

"We're trying to keep as much community involvement with this project," he said.