City staff is recommending that the city transfer the Gage Grooves concert series, which presented free weekly outdoor concerts in Gage Park during the summer, to a private operator.

The concert series took place over six weeks during the months of July and August at Gage Park in the lower city.

Since the program’s inception in 2011 the concert series has been run by the city’s Tourism and Culture Division. The change would still keep Gage Grooves funded by the city of Hamilton but operated by a third party, thus freeing up city staffing resources.

“In this model, staff plays the role of event facilitator and advisor, rather than primary event executor. A community development approach allows the Concert Series to grow over time, for the benefit of the local community, and be delivered at a lower cost in the future than if it was run by City staff.”

The program began with two concerts in 2011 which was expanded to six concerts in 2012. The plan for next year is to expand the concerts again to feature concerts over eight weeks.

Staff are recommending hiring a service provider for a set management fee of $4,000, including an option for the City to renew the fee-for-service contract for an additional two years at the same fee.

“Responsibilities of the service provider would include music programming, community engagement, artist contract development and management, stage management, promotion and audience surveys. City staff will act as event facilitator and will be responsible for managing the service provider’s contract; budgeting and financial administration; ensuring that procurements follow the procurement policy; and reporting to Council.”

The alternative would be to continue to fully run Gage Grooves as a city run event. Staff don’t support this option as “retaining the event would not capitalize on the community’s ability to assume responsibility for the event, and to potentially grow it over time.”

Staffing would also be challenged to work on the concert series along with other projects already in the works. City staff have stated that overtime could result which could add $8,750 to the cost of the concert series.

The concert series this year cost approximately $23,000 including staffing, promotion, sound & lighting equipment rentals, permits and paying the bands. With additional shows planned for 2013 the cost is expected to increase to $29,000 next year.

The report will be brought before the General Issues Committee on Wednesday morning.

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I am an avid follower of sports in the Hamilton region with a passion for sport. If it's a sport and if it's in Hamilton, I'll bring it to you. I'm also a big follower, advocate and knowledge nut about transit in Hamilton. (@HSRTransit) Ask me anything! Catch daily Hamilton sports recaps and highlights on the Bay Observer here:

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