News Column

Music fest benefiting nonprofits returns

May 27, 2014

By Kristen Roderick, The Hutchinson News, Kan.

May 27--Concerts for the Cause is ready for its second season with a new board and a renewed spirit.

The concert series starts June 14 with country night in Avenue A Park. Organizer James Lowe, who co-founded the series with Steve Lovesee, organized a board and it is now officially a nonprofit organization that aims to help other nonprofit entities in the community.

This season will focus again on local performers, but some regional acts will be thrown into the mix, like Jonathan Fleig and David Vidal. On June 21, The Wondering Madman, who entertained a crowd during the downtown Third Thursday event, will be back.

"We've made leaps and bounds," said Mitch Bass, vice president of the board. "Great groundwork was made and we're going from there."

The Concerts for the Cause board includes Lowe, Bass, Christopher Wietrick, Jerry Rempe, Lydia Lowe, Mike Klaers, Adam Pina and Kath Helfrich.

They are from different areas of the Hutchinson entertainment scene that have come together to make sure local nonprofits can get extra money through the concert series.

"We all have our own niche," said Klaers, board member and owner of The Rusty Needle. "We all bring our own craft."

"All of us have a different point of view," added Bass, owner of the Double Barrel Grill.

The group has already had a two-day concert that raised $2,000 for Sterling Autism Awareness. An end-of-school concert on May 31 at The Rusty Needle, 1808 N. Plum St., will raise money for the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center.

This concert is open for families starting at 2 p.m. There will be an intermission before the bar opens it back up at 5:45 p.m. for those 21 and older.

There will be music during the Smallville festival in June. Then, in the fall, the group plans to host a comedy night to raise money for the Reno County Veterans Memorial.

During each night, nonprofit organizations will raise money through the concession stand and money jars.

"This is not about putting money in our pockets," Klaers said. "It helps the city and everybody. Taxpayers don't have to pay for the entertainment."

A design contest is underway for T-shirts that will be sold during the event.

The board has raised some money so that while bands won't get much, they won't have to perform for free.

"They at least get gas money," Rempe said.

Plans are still being made for the future of Concerts for the Cause. Lowe said his dream is to get a big national act to play at Avenue A Park, but he knows it could take a while.

The board will be there to support him when it happens.

"Hutch has so much to offer from an entertainment standpoint," Bass said.


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Source: Hutchinson News, The (KS)

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