With a week to go before the annual , fundraising has already zeroed out the cost of the bands and West Deptford officials are hopeful the concerts can be a completely no-cost affair at the end of the season.
With a tab of $33,500 for the bands, the township has already locked in $34,000 in sponsorships and vendor fees—$3,250 more than last year thus far—according to Greg Ley, West Deptford’s recreation director.
“We're still going, so we're moving into funding the police cost as well,” Deputy Mayor Sean Kilpatrick said. “Obviously, it's really, really exciting, especially in this economy.”
The effort has been going strong since the concert series was amid , and Kilpatrick said it’s been eye-opening as to how much it takes to try to get the concert series to be completely free.
"It's a lot of phone calls, its a lot of emails, it's a lot of knocking on doors,” Ley said.
But something as simple as a letter from Mayor Ray Chintall was enough to convince some of the sponsors, Ley said.
"That has been a tremendous help," Ley said.
For his part, Chintall said getting to this point is a hopeful sign.
"We're going in the right direction,” he said. "If we can secure the full funding...that would be better.”
Chintall said he wants to review the finances at the series’ end in August to see where things stand and where they might make adjustments, if necessary, to ensure there isn’t a burden on West Deptford taxpayers.
"I just don't want to put any more additional expense on the residents' shoulders,” he said.
Police costs for the series adds about $9,000 to the cost of the bands, Ley said, and he and Kilpatrick called it their mission to get that covered, as well.
But it’s not completely about the money, Kilpatrick said, emphasizing the importance of the rec program, which was cited as one of the factors in West Deptford coming in No. 3 in South Jersey Magazine’s annual rankings of the top towns in South Jersey.
"It's something to bring the whole township together, and that's what it's all about,” Kilpatrick said.
Sponsors for 2012:
- Wheelabrator Gloucester
- Eagle Point Power Generation
- Hangsterfer’s Labs
- Orange Cleaners
- Ancient Order of Hibernians—Commodore John Barry Division 1
- Flag Service & Maintenance
- Gloucester County Board of Freeholders (movie night)
The complete concert lineup:Date Band Style June 1 The Juliano Brothers Dance Party Band June 8 Jellyroll Dance Party Band June 15 Blackthorn Irish rock/party band June 29 Sensational Soul Cruisers Motown/R&B/Soul July 13 The Infernos Motown/R&B/Soul July 20 Parrot Beach Jimmy Buffett tribute band July 27 Secret Service Dance Party Band Aug. 3 Generation Next Dance Party Band Aug. 10 Elvis Show featuring Mark Reno Elvis tribute show Aug. 15 The Smurfs Big screen outdoor movie night Aug. 17 Kick It Out Heart tribute band Aug. 24 Separate Ways Journey tribute band Aug. 31 Beatlemania Again Beatles tribute band