By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — There is both good news and bad for local residents who enjoy attending the summer concerts hosted by the Warsaw Parks & Recreation Department.
It was announced at the parks board meeting Tuesday, March 16, that Friday night concerts will take place; however, the three major concerts – classic rock, blues and country – will not be held in 2021.
Warsaw Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer and Recreation Director Sheila Wieringa recently met with Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer about the status of concerts.
The decision marks the second consecutive year the city cancelled the three shows because of the pandemic.
“Going into that meeting, we knew the Safety Fest was already canceled and with our discussions, we just felt that it wasn’t the proper time to have our major concerts yet,” Plummer said. “We just didn’t feel comfortable enough to bring 5,000-7,000 people together in one area.”
Plummer said there were also logistical issues to fight through, including building availability and contracts.
Concert contracts complicated things, Plummer said, because they need to be signed in March. If something came up after that time which led to the cancellation of a concert, that could result in the loss of between $25,000-$30,000.
That was a big concern, Plummer said, since he makes every effort to be frugal with taxpayers’ money.
It is expected that the major concerts will be brought back in 2022.
“We’re going to substitute with a couple more Friday night concerts in place of the rock and the country ones and I think the park will still be rocking, but with not as many people,” Plummer said.
The smaller Friday night concerts average about 215 attendees.
“That’s where we want to be,” Plummer said. “We’re just not ready for the 5,000-7,000 people.”
As far as other parks programs, Plummer said they will return to normal programming with safety in mind.