Music in the park

A scene from Americana Music in the Park 2018.

Only original music will be played at Americana Music in the Park for its 2019 season.

It’s one of the few changes to the event this year, said event organizer and founder, Scott Wilcox.

The first change is the decision to focus solely on the artists’ original music.

That decision was twofold, Wilcox said. First because the aim of the event is to showcase unique artists from the Midwest and to encourage original music, but they have allowed musicians to play cover songs. This year they will not.

“There are very few festivals in the state of Wisconsin that do only original music,” he said. “In order to compete with other festivals, you have to find something unique to stand out.”

The cost of allowing musicians to play cover songs is the second reason for the focus on original music, Wilcox said.

“By having original music we also avoid the huge licensing fees that go along with having to play so many covers,” he said. “Festivals that have cover artists have to pay huge licensing fees to licensing groups. We just weren’t prepared to do that because even though we’re making more money from Music in the Park, we give all our money back to the community.”

Another change this year is on July 3, when the event will be held at the Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center in the courtyard, and all rain day events will be held in the VA’s auditorium in building 455.

Wilcox said the VA has been a big supporter of Music in the Park for the past three years, sending busloads of veterans to the event every year, so this year he wanted to take the music to them.

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“I feel bad that we waited so long, honestly,” he said.

Another change is Marco’s, an Italian restaurant in Warrens, will provide sandwich entrees for each event, and non-profits will also sell food. Music in the Park will sell popcorn, water and ice cream.

Music in the Park will also have inflatable games such as a frisbee toss and football toss for the children this year. In addition, there will also be craft vendors at the event.

Wilcox said he wants Music in the Park to be a family event where people can come and relax and listen to music.

“We want to be something unique and different where you can come and see something you haven’t seen before, hear somebody you haven’t heard before, play some games and not have to worry about your kids straying. Our staff will also be an extra set of eyes to help watch your kids too,” he said. “We want to be that family event that cares for the community because that’s what we’re all about. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community.”

Music in the Park takes place every other Wednesday from June to August at Gillett Park from 6-8:30 p.m.

The performers will be:

  • June 5: Tajci and David Langley
  • June 19: Steven Szydel and James Grant
  • July 3: The Trouble With Scotty, Colin Marshall and Steve Nelson
  • July 17: Sons of Merlin
  • July 31: Paul Tweed Band
  • Aug. 14: Kittens?

Visit ampwis.org for more information on the event and the artists, entree menu for each event and for a map of where to go at the VA Medical Center campus.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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