A $15,000 funding request to the city of Aspen for a concert in conjunction with American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) was held up Monday after the event’s organizer had trouble explaining a $100,000 line item on his expense budget.
Council members told Chip Comins they needed an extra week to process his request at a work session on Monday. Comins is pitching the Sunday, Aug. 18 concert, which would feature bluesman Taj Mahal and possibly Rolling Stones keyboard player Chuck Leavell, as a bridge between AREDAY and the USA Pro Challenge bike race, which kicks off in Aspen the next day.
AREDAY, which will bring in speakers for environmentally themed panel discussions at the Doerr-Hosier Center and host an energy expo in downtown Aspen, is working on an arrangement with USA Pro Challenge organizers to hold the concert on a stage in Paepcke Park. The concert would take place from about 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The total budget for the musical entertainment would be about $49,000, Comins said, including airfare and lodging for the talent.
Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland said he had some concerns with the overall AREDAY budget Comins submitted as part of his concert request. Besides the fact that the budget is projecting $256,000 in income and $340,800 in expenses, Ireland questioned a $100,000 line item for “salaries and subcontractors” under the “office” portion of the expense budget. Comins couldn’t explain the expense clearly, suggesting that it could be for audio-visual and marketing services, which Ireland pointed out were addressed in other line items. Comins said he pays himself a salary when he can but described it as “meager.” He said he would look further into the budgetary details and return to council next week.
Councilman Torre said he is working to raise sponsorship dollars from outside sources and asked for another week to come up with money. He said he is hoping to raise $15,000 privately so the city would not have to pay anything. He said he spoke with one potential sponsor on Monday who is interested in a $5,000 contribution.
Taj Mahal played at an AREDAY-sponsored concert last summer in Wagner Park, which Torre said was a great event. That event was entirely privately funded.