A local live music event could be in jeopardy with Loyalist Township Council voting not to support it this year.
Live Music Sundays have been taking place at Finkles Park in Bath, Ontario since 2018 with a variety of musicians, most of whom are local, gracing the stage over the last four summers.
The concerts are free to attend for any community members, and the recent lack of support has left some disappointed.
Bon Evans, the event’s organizer, says the Township has previously supported the event by waiving the pavilion fee.
This year, with outdoor music season quickly approaching, he says the mayor and council surprised him with an unexpected rental fee of $3000 and a request to supply their own bathrooms.
Evans says he’s optimistic to save the event through crowd-sourcing and a Renewable Energy Grant which has been suggested by council members, but that council choosing to continue supporting the event would go a long way.
“After reviewing the grant it does appear onerous. Someone from the community has volunteered to write it but it will be time consuming,” Evans said.
“The easiest way for them to support us would be if they decide to reverse their decision on April 25 council meeting.”
Evans said the councillors for their part are trying to help, but that the request for this fee was blindsiding.
He said that he’ll be at the council meeting, once again pushing for support from the Township in an event that already relies on fundraising from sponsors to pay the musicians involved.
Evans says Bath already has too few live music events as is, so is hopeful the Township recognizes the value of this series.
He added that he started organizing these events in 2018 because the pavilion was so rarely in use, and he expects without Live Music Sundays it would often sit empty again.
Loyalist Township Mayor Ric Bresee says that he and council want to see the event continue and thrive, but that a new process needs to be found to support the event than what has happened in years past.
“There is still an avenue for some funding opportunities to allow this, it’s just this was not the right avenue for him to apply through this year,” Bresee said.
“This was a temporary measure and hopefully we can find something that works better for him.”
Evans was also told by one councillor who recommended the Renewable Energy Grant that supporting this event would contribute to putting a burden on the Township’s tax levy, despite no money actually being granted.
While the mayor and council have maintained waiving the fee isn’t the right way to use taxpayer money, Evans says those same taxpayers have been reaching out to show support for the events.
After delays in 2020, Live Music Sundays were able to push forward with a full 56 performer schedule last year.