Association smooths over Circle event

 

Association smooths over Circle event

 

Date: March 10, 2010
by: Robin Hartill | Community Editor

 
 

On the fourth Friday in January, Crab & Fin Director of Operations Scott Macdonald got approximately 20 calls at the St. Armands Circle restaurant. Customers were wondering whether there would be a “Smooth Jazz on St. Armands — Fourth Friday with Style” concert.

A concert wasn’t scheduled for that evening, because the St. Armands Circle Association has scaled back on the number of jazz concerts it hosts. The concerts used to be held the fourth Friday of each month from October through May. Then, in the summer of 2007, when the economy declined and sponsorships became more difficult to obtain, the Circle Association announced that for the coming season, jazz concerts would be limited to January through May. But this season, faced with a reduced budget, the Circle Association announced it would hold just one concert, scheduled for Friday, March 26.

“Up to this point in time, we’ve been telling people that jazz was in jeopardy,” said St. Armands Circle Association Executive Director Diana Corrigan, “but I don’t think it really hit that jazz was in jeopardy.”

Now the Circle Association is launching a “Save Smooth Jazz” campaign, which it will unveil at the upcoming concert. According to Corrigan, the goal of the campaign is to generate sponsors and contributions for the concerts, which draw as many as 4,000 people to the Circle.

According to Corrigan, many concertgoers are unaware that the concerts cost more than $8,000 to put on, and the Circle Association foots the bill for costs such as police and trash collection (see sidebar). As part of an agreement reached with the city of Sarasota in 2009 about park-usage fees, the association cannot charge people to attend events in St. Armands Circle Park.

“We’re heightening the awareness about what it takes to produce that concert,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan said that the Circle Association aims to possibly put on four concerts each season through sponsorships and by obtaining contributions from people who enjoy the concerts.

“Hopefully, it’s something we can keep going,” said Macdonald, who estimates that traffic at Crab & Fin is up 20% on “Smooth Jazz” nights.

Corrigan also said that the jazz concerts benefit Circle businesses.

“Jazz brought a lot of people out here that maybe did not shop here that night but came back,” Corrigan said.

BOX
Expense Breakdown

In 2008, the St. Armands Circle Association estimated its costs of a single concert at $8,025. Here is a breakdown of expenses:
WSJT 94.1 ad promotions...............$2,500
Disc jockey......................................$400
Band/entertainer..............................$1,000
Sarasota Police Department...........$550
Department of Public Works...........$700
Portable toilets................................$700
Sound.............................................$300
Additional sound-related costs.......$100
Stage..............................................$1,200
Miscellaneous................................$250
Park-usage fee..............................$225
Total...............................................$8,025

Contact Robin Hartill at rhartill@yourobserver.com.
 

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