Another casualty: County Concert Band says it will also have to cancel Mill Pond concerts

The new Brighton Mill Pond Amphitheater has claimed another casualty: The Livingston County Concert Band will also be forced to move or cancel its summer Mill Pond concerts because of the high fees at the new facility.

The Livingston County Concert Band has been playing free Tuesday-night summer concerts at the Mill Pond for years, but the group now says it can’t afford to pay what the city wants to charge for the new amphitheater.

The Mill Pond has been under construction all summer and fall as the new bandshell and amphitheater was constructed at a cost of $739,500. The old Brighton Kiwanis Club Gazebo was torn down to make way for the new facility.

The city’s Downtown Development Authority said it wanted to build the new amphitheater to better accommodate the summer concerts and events that take place there.

The Brighton City Council says it will cost a lot of money to operate the new Mill Pond Amphitheater, so it unveiled a new fee structure at its Dec. 6 meeting. The city says it will charge $300 for a half day and $500 for a full day for nonprofit groups to use the facility.

The problem: All of the groups that regularly put on concerts at the Mill Pond say they can’t afford to pay that much.

The Brighton Kiwanis Club, which puts on mega-popular Sunday-night concerts in the summer, says it will have to cancel its 2019 series if the fees aren’t immediately dropped.

On the heels of that announcement, the Livingston County Concert Band says it will also have to cancel its Tuesday-night concerts.

Writing on Facebook, Livingston County Concert Band member Joe Gregoria wrote, “We have been playing Tuesday night summer concerts at the Mill Pond for many many years. We pass the hat (actually, an old trumpet case) to help offset our costs (music, insurance, etc.) to do those summer concerts and never get near the $300 per night we’ll need to rent that space. If the fee schedule goes through as proposed, we will have to cancel those summer concerts and play elsewhere in the county. We play for 8 Tuesdays; that would be $2,400 for us for the summer. To put on a community event. It’s too bad it ended up this way.”

So, if you’re keeping score at home: Instead of having Mill Pond concerts on two nights a week during the summer, there will now be Mill Pond concerts on zero nights a week during the summer.

They built a facility that nobody can afford to use, and apparently didn’t bother to work all of this out before they built it.

The City of Brighton has some explaining to do.

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