At Thursday’s Town Board meeting, Casey Reid of Eleven Events and David Bock, chairman of Highlands Festivals Inc., a nonprofit organization created to run the Highlands Food & Wine Festival, presented a proposal for a one-night, open-air, Singer-Songwriter Festival in K-H Founders Park, Saturday, May 2, from 6-10 p.m., rain or shine.
Pictured at the top of the article the red line represents the perimeter of the Singer-Songwriter Festival to be in KH Founders Park on Pine Street set for Saturday, May 2 from 6-10 p.m.
The purpose is to promote Highlands as a destination during the slow Spring shoulder season, said Reid who is also a member of Highlands Festival Inc., and to put “heads in beds.”
“This will be a live marketing event during which we will test the waters to see if a Singer Songwriter weekend, similar to the Highlands Food & Wine Festival, would be feasible in 2021,” she said.
Three artists will be featured – two supporting artists and one headline artist. Proposed ticket prices are $55 for General Admission and $100 for VIP tickets with 1,000 tickets available. A food court will be set up on the plaza where the ice rink is in the winter where local restaurants can sell food and Highlands Festival, Inc. will conduct bar sales.
Reid said they expect the event to break even but any proceeds would go into Highlands Festival, Inc. which could donate a portion of the profits to area nonprofits.
During the Public Comment period prior to the presentation, Hank Ross with Friends of Founders Park, which is the organization that raises money to maintain the park and raise awareness of it, said the songwriter launch event is exactly the kind of event the park is designed for but maintaining the integrity of the park is also important. To that end, he hoped Friends of Founders Park would be one of the charitable organizations to which proceeds would be directed.
“Over the years, the number of events we are having are getting larger as far as the amount of people and it’s creating a lot more impact on the park,” he said. “As you know our organization helps maintain the park and we do a fundraiser where 100% of the proceeds go toward color, maintenance, grass, things like that – doing a little bit extra that the town may or may not be able to do.
“I really hope that this group, or any other large group that proposes this kind of impact on the grass, which we will be trying to renovate this spring, will donate some of the proceeds to Friends of Founders Park or the Town of Highlands for the park.”
Reid requested renting KH Founders Park Friday, May 1-Sunday, May 3 with closure of Pine Street 11 p.m. May 1 to midnight, May 2. Public pedestrian access would only be restricted on May 2.
Since it’s an open-air event, barricades will be set up around the perimeter and Eleven Events will work closely with local police and will hire supplemental private security during the event for crowd control.
Reid said since it is an open-air event (without a tent) people without tickets could gather along the outskirts of the perimeter to hear the music but wouldn’t be able to partake in the food or alcohol which will only be allowed within the park that night.
Commissioners were OK with the idea saying that since Highlands Festival, Inc., was a nonprofit it was OK to have a ticketed event in the park and that it seemed reasonable that Friends of Founders Park be a recipient of some proceeds.
However, the final vote was 4-1 with Commissioner John Dotson voting “no” because he hadn’t had enough time to digest the proposal and formulate an opinion.
Reid said they needed to know if they could proceed that night since they had to begin getting the bands together right away.
By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper