At its late February work session Council debated at some length a request from the Bluemont Concert organization for a Town-guaranteed grant of some $12,500 to facilitate the production of four concerts in Middleburg this coming summer.
According to Economic Development Director, Pearson Bluemont had specifically requested that the Town appropriate the entire amount, freeing them from the uncertainties associated with waiting for a yes-or-no decision on a Bluemont grant request to the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
Mayor Betsy Davis observed, that in her view, the Town could grant Bluemont $2,500, which, along with a successful VCA grant proposal, would give them $5,000 for Middleburg concert development.
Councilmember Bridge Littleton, at that point, noted that “all of the Bluemont concerts in total only brought two hundred people into the town.”
Councilmember Philip Miller noted that, in his view, “ . . . This was not a good use of Town funds and suggested that $12,500 could do a lot of good for a lot of different organizations.”
Miller observed that he was “all for concerts” but, in his opinion, “ they must be well planned and be good for both the businesses and attendees.” He continued that he was Mr. “ not seeing that here” and pointed out that $12,500 was equal to half of the Town’s Health Center Fund donations. “
Councilmember Littleton then noted that at that rate, the concerts were costing the Town roughly $60 per attendee, “which was a lot of money. “
Vincent Bataoel, Chair of the Town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, noted “that it was more than the Town spent on Christmas in Middleburg,” which Councilmember Miller pointedly observed, “brought in fifteen thousand people.”
When Mayor Davis suggested, the Town continues to offer Bluemont “some funding.” Councilmember Peter Leonard-Morgan “agreed and suggested the Town decelerate its donation slowly.”
In the end Council, without objection, voted to “provide Bluemont funds of $2,500, with the possibility of a match of $2,500 from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.”