Sounds on Centre update

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 25, 2019 12:32 p.m.

City Manager Dale Martin

Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin late this morning sent an email to commissioners and copied local media representing the city’s position on the future of the Sounds On Center concert series.  He included a proposal, points of which are reproduced below,  which he  hand delivered to Chuck Hall, representative of the Historic Fernandina Business Association (HFBA):

1. On January 15, 2019, the City of Fernandina Beach Special Events Committee reviewed your application for the 2019 series of concerts entitled Sounds of Centre. The Committee unanimously recommended, in response to concerns raised by some businesses in the immediate vicinity of the concert location, that a different day or location be considered. Unfortunately, in response to that request, you erroneously indicated that the City had canceled Sounds on Centre.

2. Although the issue of changing the day and/or location had been previously generally discussed, to the best of my knowledge, this was the first time such a request was formally presented. Recognizing the timing of this request in relation to the preparation for the 2019 concert series, I am offering the following to resolve the current situation:

  1. The 2019 concert series will be permitted to perform at the same site (Centre Street, between Front Street and 2nd Street) and on the same day and time (select Thursdays and Fridays, as requested; 3:00 PM-9:30 PM, inclusive of site set-up and clearance).
  2. The Historic Fernandina Business Association (HFBA) will provide to the City appropriate event insurance, identical to that provided by other downtown events, such as the Peg Leg Birthday Party, the Eight Flags Auto Show, and the Community Easter Celebration (for specific insurance requirements, please contact Ms. Tammi Bach, City Attorney; 310-3276).
  3. The 2020 concert series and all thereafter (if proposed) will be conducted on a different site (downtown or otherwise, at your request) or on a different weekday if the current site is desired.
  4. Since this event is being considered as a City-sponsored event (with certain financial benefits resulting), the HFBA will present an organizational summary to the City Commission on February 19, 2019.

3. I recognize the popularity of the annual Sounds on Centre concert series. I also fully support the efforts of the City’s Special Events Committee to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed for special events, especially those that wish to be considered for City sponsorship.

4. Please acknowledge below the acceptance of the aforementioned conditions. Upon such acknowledgement, you can proceed with preparations for the 2019 Sounds on Centre concert series as previously conducted.

Hall agreed to consider the proposal following consultation with his board.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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3 Responses to Sounds on Centre update

  1. chuck hall says:

    The HFBA Board will discuss this proposal. It seems hard to understand why the City would mess with such a successful program. The HFBA has proudly served the downtown community for 45 years, and this seems to have become an issue just lately. We respect those with the desire to change what works so well for the whole of downtown, yet for a few it may be an inconvenience 5 or 6 evenings per year. Let’s hope for a good result, and not let the tail wage the dog. 3 complaints out of 100 businesses is no reason to destroy this beloved community event that has existed over 10 years. Thanks to all that have supported us through this difficult time.

  2. Janet Wylie says:

    I look forward to Sounds on Centre every year. Friday night and current location is the perfect place. I either shop the little shops before the event or after depending time of my arrival. It is a great way to finish a work week. Good music, good shops, good food and good fun………..why change something that isn’t broken. Due to the crowd that is always attending, it would be greatly missed if not allowed to continue. I recommend this community event to all the tourist that come to our beautiful island.

  3. Steven Crounse says:

    It does seem that the City Manager and a couple disgruntled business owners are making a mountain out of a molehill. Sounds on Centre is an incredible musical series that has delighted tens thousands over it’s decade long tradition. Not to mention the millions of dollars it brings to the downtown area. I would think it more appropriate for our City manager and the downtown merchants assoc., help these shop owners to find a more suitable location for they’re businesses. There are empty storefronts, a couple blocks east. Just a thought.

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