Bennington summer concert series expected to make strong returnBy Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | January 17,2013BENNINGTON — A local businessman is planning to bring back the town’s downtown summer concert series this year and arrange for 16 free musical performances on Fridays from June 7 to September 20.
The Select Board voted unanimously at their meeting this week to allow the concerts to take place on the lawn of the town offices after hearing a presentation by Dan Turcotte, owner of the Main Street business Phoenix Wing Productions.
Turcotte said he planned to finance the concerts primarily through sponsorships, advertising and donations so they will remain free for residents. Through his business, Turcotte has reached out not only to potential sponsors in Bennington but also in surrounding communities and told the Select Board there was already interest in participating.
The summer concert series had been idle for the last few years but in 2012 they were revived for a shortened season by resident Michael Bethel.
Turcotte said he had larger plans that he had put together with John Shannahan, executive director of the Better Bennington Corp., and Gregory Van Houten, a Select Board member.
Turcotte told the board that he believed he had an advantage because Phoenix Wing works with a lot of young, local musicians.
“Right now, we already have (enough musicians) interested to fill pretty much every one of these spots,” he said.
Turcotte said he wasn’t expecting trouble and the musicians would be chosen to be appropriate for the venue.
“I’m not foreseeing a fighting, violent situation down there. It is right across the street from the police department (and) we’re not serving alcohol. The other part of that is that I’m not going to be booking bands there that will be promoting violence. I’m thinking more acoustic (musicians.) No large, plugged-in, heavy metal, that type of deal,” he said.
Van Houten said he was pleased with the proposal which he said had been produced quickly after he and Turcotte had discussed the idea. He said he liked seeing a clear outline of the responsibilities of all the parties involved and biographies of the proposed musicians as an assurance they were right for a community concert.
Town Manager Stuart Hurd said his only concern was the creation of an agreement showing that Phoenix Wing would take responsibility for any damage done by their staff or musicians. Turcotte said he would comply with Hurd’s request.
Turcotte said he expected to donate a lot of his time to manage and oversee the concert series but said he was happy to do it because he believed in Bennington.
“We’re just trying to help. I have a downtown business now and I’m watching a lot of things happen downtown. I want to be part of it. I want to be able to help it go forward. … I believe that if you put out, you get back. … I’m all about paying it forward,” he said.
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