Leader file photo The Niles Bluegrass Festival is May 31 through June 3 at the Riverfront Park amphitheater. The city council approved $2,500 to support the festival

Archived Story

Bluegrass Festival gets city support

Published 8:42pm Monday, May 14, 2012

At what point should a community festival become self-sustaining?

Niles Fourth Ward Council Member Scott Clark believes 10 years is plenty of time.

The council approved a request from the Riverfront Optimist Club for $2,500 to assist in promoting the festival, planned for May 31 through June 3 at Riverfront Park.

The area’s only bluegrass festival began 10 years ago.

“I don’t think that’s a wise choice to support this,” Clark said. “With all the people here, there should be enough to keep it going.”

Clark said he believes the city should support festivals for two to three years, until they get their footing. He said Niles is facing budget cuts, and the festival is an unnecessary expense.

“I just think harder times are to come,” he said.

“Twenty-five-hundred dollars could be somebody’s paycheck.”

Fourth Ward Council Member Tim Skalla said although he didn’t initially like bluegrass music, he began attending the festival and enjoys the event.

“I’ve attended the last two or three, and I’m amazed at the number of people it brings to town.”

The council voted 4-2 to approve the funding request, with Clark and Third Ward Council Member David Mann opposed.

Festival organizer Tom Majerek said the festival will continue in some form or another — regardless of the city’s financial support — because the community has voiced its interest in having it in Niles.

A festival schedule has not been released because the lineup of musicians has not been confirmed.

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