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

The bandshell at the new Brighton Mill Pond Amphitheater.
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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.

About Buddy Moorehouse 190 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

7 Comments

  1. It seems to be a flaw of human nature to want to change what is working perfectly and do so without regard of the consequences. The Mill Pond concerts brought people together for an evening of fun and music in the community. I hope they can resolve this issue soon.

  2. Ditto Allison…..Ditto
    But of course, the elitist know better in their own smugness
    Howell and Brighton were far better communities in the 70’s and 80’s

  3. What a joke! The city of Brighton and it’s businesses profit from this venue and it’s events or they wouldn’t have spent $800K to renovate a perfectly capable site. Now they want to charge their customers/residents for it!! Just a money grab!!

  4. I have played in the concert band for 13+ years now. We expanded our concerts in Brighton years ago mainly because of a growing audience. We all enjoy playing and even more so to appreciative crowds. I know for a fact that several businesses had even made donations to the band as a small thank you for the added crowds attracted to the area on Tuesday nights, helping to spur on sales on a less busy time.
    With the construction last year we had to abandon Brighton for the summer opting to play in 2 new venues, Pinckney and Hartland, as well as the normal Howell concerts in August. Both areas welcomed us with open arms. Hartland specifically added to their area media mentions to promote the concert. The crowds there were large from the very first concert. Many area folks thanking us and wanting more appearances.
    We are a non-profit but do have costs associated with our existence. So donations in the summer help us offset these. I’m sure our organization will be polling the membership as to what will work best. If there are fees for Brighton, its a clear choice to go where we are appreciated by the cities governments, its clear many Brighton residents appreciated us.

  5. There are a couple of things that they can do to keep these events alive…..Kiwanis will have to raise sponsorship rates to cover the costs of the bands and event fee….They seem to have a boatload of sponsorship for the series, and hitting them up for a few bucks more might solve this.
    The benefits to the city are to large to allow these concerts to be cancelled. I’m sure that the City Council will come to their senses and either waive or lower the fees to the Kiwanis Club….But they can’t wait until March, because the good bands will already be booked on the festival circuit. it was foolish to tear down the gazebo, cut down the beautiful trees and rebuild without taking all of this into consideration or consultation with the groups that put on these events.

What do you think?