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2 Trumbull Traditions, 1 Account, 1 New Festival

First Selectman Tim Herbst wants to combine funds for the annual concert and Trumbull Day and combine "certain elements" of both into a weekend-long event.

Don't count out the summer concert yet. But it's not likely to be in summer.

First Selectman Tim Herbst told the Board of Finance and the Town Council Thursday night that he has been dealing with two so far unidentified musical acts that could perform in September.

His vision is to combine elements of years-old and the eight-year tradition of the summer concert into one weekend.

To that end, the Board of Finance rejected a request for $60,000 in seed money for the concert but the Town Council approved it 12-2-1 shortly afterwward. The two town boards met in a special meeting in so everyone would be on the same page, Herbst said.

Herbst presented a cost analysis of past Trumbull concerts, saying they "underscore the cost of an event like this."

"Everyone needs to make a decision ... if that cost is reasonable," Herbst said. "There is a risk factor involved. You may not think it's appropriate. That's why we're here."

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The first selectman said he has figures for the last two concerts but not for previous concerts.

No date for the concert has been set, but the second or fourth week of September is convenient because of holidays and town events that fall in the month, according to Herbst.

The first selectman said the town has had good luck with past acts such as the Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Train. Last year's concert, with Lifehouse, Sugar Ray and the Gin Blossoms, was cancelled because of power outages from Hurricane Irene.

Three thousand tickets were sold for that concert before it was canceled. Train drew about 6,500 tickets.

Trumbull Day

Trumbull Day lost money in its last two years, Herbst told the panels.

Traditionally, the festival included fireworks, games and rides and was held before the Fourth of July. The staged fireworks and games in the mall parking lot in late June, 2011.

The festival was a staple of Trumbull for years, but gradually became less profitable.

Town Officials Weigh In

All the officials agreed that a special yearly event benefits the town, but differed on what and when it should be and how it should be paid for.

Town Council Chairman Carl Massaro Jr. said the Trumbull should hold events that do not pose financial risk to the town. For example, the Irish Festival was not town-funded. Its organizers now rent space in Fairfield.

Finance Board Member Andrew Palo said, "I think you have a great idea. I would put it in the budget for next year."

Finance Alternate Cindy Penkoff agreed with Massaro that space should be rented.

Board member Paul Lavoie said the concert he attended attracted many out-of-towners. Herbst said the split was about 60 percent Trumbull residents.

Town Councilwoman Suzanne Testani called for a "very aggressive marketing campaign."

Councilwoman Martha Mark voted against the $60,000 allotment. She supported a concert, but added, "I feel like we're doing this last minute and I don't feel comfortable."

September is also too late for a concert partly because it neglects college students who might buy tickets.

Councilman James Meisner said a certain number tickets need to be sold to break even.

Herbst concluded that, "Everyone knows what we're getting into. Everybody's going to have a say in this."

Heather July 18, 2012 at 03:37 AM
The story about Trumbull Day's cancellation seems conveniently altered so that a certain "someone" looks like a hero. At least one night of really bad weather, in it's last two years, is much to blame for the increasing costs. Plus, the decision to hire a band one year also had a negative financial impact. The timing, of the first weekend of summer vacation, was also perfect for families and fireworks! Trumbull Day was all about building community, something that is sorely lacking in this town. The timing of the summer concert revolves around the featured musical act so it could never be guaranteed to be held at the same time each year. And, it is more of a concert/entertainment/ adult night out event that depends on out of town ticket sales. I say keep them separate as they serve two different purposes and as a result are held in two different, but equally great, locations.
HL July 18, 2012 at 01:14 PM
We always enjoyed the fireworks display at Trumbull Day, and I remember going as far back as when I was a little boy and we first moved to Trumbull, and then later with friends, and after that as a parent with my own children. I remember they had Patti Smith one year ... probably not the best use of funds since most people were more about the rides and the fireworks. Trumbull Day should be an event that in large part pays for itself. Food vendors willing to rent space to advertise their wares. Educational booths (like that great birds of prey guy) that don't cost much and can be profitable with the price of admission. I'm not sure about the carnival aspect. Carnival rides are no longer the magnet they used to be, many parents I know try to avoid them. They look dangerous and are usually run by unqualified/questionable traveling staff. In addition, they look like the same machines I used to ride decades ago.
HL July 18, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I forgot to add, bands should be local/regional bands looking to advertise their music, not an act we need to shell out large amounts of cash to. If there is to be a real band, it should be in the form of a stand-alone concert event (for adults), not something meshed in with the existing Trumbull Day (family oriented).
George Broman July 18, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I agree with
George Broman July 18, 2012 at 04:54 PM
I agree with HL and support using local bands to promote their music. Have two or three bands. Appeal to both young and old. Do a jazz type band and a younger type pop music band. There are plenty of good acts at the Gazebo but only on Tuesday nights. Pick one or two of the top bands from the Tuesday night concerts along with another younger type music and HAVE IT ON A WEEKEND. Not eveyone can make it on a Tuesdat night. I know there are top performers there but I personally work in NYC and Tuesday's are not good for commuters (even Stamford) or people with obligations during the week. AND the cost would be a tenth of what TH wants to spend!

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