Fourth of July concert back on

Published 8:34 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bainbridge’s Fourth of July celebration will still feature a concert as originally planned, after the city’s council approved a scaled-back music production Tuesday night.

Danielle Peck, one of the Nashville country music artists originally proposed to open the concert, will now headline it. Peck, who has had several hit songs since debuting in 2006, is on the same record label as top-selling country artists Taylor Swift and Trisha Yearwood.

The vote to approve Peck’s hire was 4-2, with council members Roslyn Palmer and Joe Sweet voting no. Councilman Luther Conyers, who had voted against a $25,000 concert in February, this time joined Councilmen Edward Reynolds, Dean Burke and Greg Waddell in voting for one that will cost the city no more than $12,000.

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Palmer, who had also voted against hiring big-name talent the first time—citing tough economic times—again said she would rather hire less expensive local music acts.

Palmer said she was “slightly confused” a scaled-back concert was back on the council’s agenda. She asked City Manager Chris Hobby: whether he was bound by a pre-approved contract with RCS Productions, who had recommended Peck for the concert; or whether Hobby had privately lobbied other council members prior to the meeting to secure a vote for a compromise.

Mayor Mark Harrell said no contract had been signed without the council’s approval and said the proposal to re-consider a concert came about because the council had failed to set any budget for alternative entertainment to go along with the fireworks, which will cost about $15,000.

Councilman Reynolds said he disagreed with Palmer’s assertion that the large crowds which have come to Bainbridge since the city began hiring famous talent would still come to a fireworks-only celebration. Reynolds said local businesses’ willingness to sponsor the celebration showed it attracted visitors and money to Bainbridge.

“To reduce [the concert] completely would do damage to an event people are used to coming to see,” Reynolds said.