The popular Performances in the Park series will return this year — its 10th — despite rising operational costs, a stagnant budget and a different organizing agency.
The City’s recreation service department has taken over the role of co-ordinating the logistics of the this year’s events. The City and the Cariboo Regional District provide seed money to the concert series to the tune of $7,500.
“It’s going to be challenging; there’s no doubt about it,” said Geoff Paynton, director of community services for the City, of running the program on the allotted budget.
“The audio visual component of it alone almost consumes the entire budget so that’s just getting someone out there to set up the sound and the speakers and you’re talking eight nights over the summer… that budget goes away really quickly.”
Performances in the Park’s focus has been on local entertainers; however, a City press release indicates there has been interest in attending expressed by artists from as far away as Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Kim Emsley-Leik, the City’s events and marketing co-ordinator said, “We’d like to expand the event to include a variety of talent. … However, we’re dealing with limited funding so we’re doing the best we can with the resources we have.
Recently council approved a motion to consider increasing base funding to the program to a maximum of $15,000 during 2012 budget discussions.
The City is currently seeking local entertainers, volunteers and corporate sponsors for this year’s program.
In spite of the challenge ahead, Paynton said the event gets such good feedback its continuation is justified.
“It’s obviously something the community values very highly and we get a lot of very positive feedback about it and the things that happen there. It’s a popular event and even with a limited budget we still manage to pull it off every year and if people come out and enjoy it that’s great.”
Performances in the Park 2011 summer series begins July 7 and runs every Thursday until Aug. 25.
Performances start at 6:30 p.m. and are held in the Gwen Ringwood Theatre in Boitanio Park. Information including the lineup of entertainers can be found online at www.activewilliamslake.com.