Organizers say the 2018 Summer Concerts on the Square free music series was a great success, despite early concerns about funding.

“Bands held dates open for us much later than they usually would, sponsors stepped-up to the plate, volunteers made sure everything ran smoothly, and our community rewarded all that with unbelievable attendance,” said Bryan Myrkle, Community Development Director for the City of Charlotte.

Despite being a special taxing district, Myrkle said that funding for the Downtown Development Authority has been almost nonexistent since property values fell dramatically about 10 years ago. The DDA only receives tax monies when properties in the district are valued above a certain “base-line” level.

“Even though things are definitely turning around for Downtown Charlotte, commercial property values have still not recovered to the point they were at before the recession,” Myrkle said.

Leaders say the 2018 concert season demonstrated, however, that the series can sustain itself. Some of the accommodations made were obvious, like reducing the series from eight dates to six, or actively seeking audience donations during the show.

Others, however, were behind-the-scenes.

“We have always had community sponsors, but as money has gotten scarcer, the cost to sponsor one of our concerts has doubled over the years,” Myrkle said. “When we thank a local business for their support that evening, the business is paying $500 – more than a dollar spent on each person in the audience.”

Similarly, certain bands that could maybe make more money playing somewhere else are still choosing Charlotte; and certain advertising and promotion is being provided to the series for free.

“It all added-up to a successful series,” Myrkle said, “but, it’s a big relief that everything worked out.”

Myrkle said the list of businesses, organizations and individuals who need to be thanked is long, but it represents the community coming together to make something positive happen downtown.

He specifically thanked Joe E. Pray and Pray Funeral Home; Travis Lyon and Charlotte Shoe Repair; The Charlotte Lions Club, and Charlie Green and Scott Kilgo, of Burkhead Green Kilgo Funeral Home; Paul Wilson and Lindsay Potter of Captain’s Cabinetry and the Yarn Garden, respectively; the Courthouse Square Association, First Congregational Church and Peace Lutheran Church; and Eric Rogers, LLC for their generous donations to the series. He also thanked Julie Kimmer, Director of the Courthouse Museum, and Bob and Jan Phillips for their hard work and constant volunteer efforts; and also Amy Frost and the Charlotte First Congregational Church for being a rain-out venue when needed. He thanked the Charlotte Kiwanis Club’s Sunshine team for providing refreshments, and also The County Journal newspaper for advertising and promotional help.

Article submitted by the City of Charlotte.