The Meaford Concert Series may not happen this summer. A change of a grant to a bursary has made booking talent much more complicated for founder and organizer of the event Chris Scerri.
In the previous three years of the event Scerri was able to obtain funding through the Community Grant Program, usually receiving the funding by mid-May however since the program switched from a grant to a bursary that funding may not hit the bank accounts until some time in June.
This bursary program allows for accepted recipients to receive a maximum of $5,000 per year for the duration of council's term. This money comes from a pool of $50,000 a year that can be given out. This year there are quite a few applicants numbering somewhere in the area of 25 applicants.
In previous years the series hosted four concerts throughout July and August that accepted donations to the Meaford Food Bank but had no cost to see the show.
Scerri says planning for the series usually begins in March or April with gaining volunteers and sponsorships however he can't solidify any of the acts until all the money from sponsors and other sources, like the bursary are in place. Currently Scerri is short about $5,000, money he hopes to get from the bursary however with the June decision date for the bursary being to late he took his concerns to council during their latest meeting.
Pointing out the free nature of the concerts as well as the business it brings to the downtown core, Scerri is hopeful that council will consider some type of solution to assist him. Council listened to his concerns and suggested charging a cheap entry price or accepting donations.
While this option is a possibility in the future it strays away from the original vision Scerri had for the series. "The series is a way to bring the community together, I never want there to be any reason for someone to not come." Scerri said.
It is unclear at this time if the Concert Series will in fact be taking place. Scerri remains hopeful that council will find a solution to keep these free concerts free.