Pickin' Productions has new digs in the Harvester Building in Paonia. Founder Rob Miller has his office upstairs in the loft with a view of "P" Hill which stands for Paonia, but works equally well as the backdrop for Pickin' Productions.
Of course fans of the free summer concert series, Pickin' in the Park, love to end their summer with four Thursday nights in August enjoying the eclectic blend of musicians that Miller has brought together just for the Paonia audience.
Miller finds national artists to headline and top local and regional groups to open. If plans can all be worked out, the excellent opening acts will perform after the concert at a local indoor venue.
The summer series is in its sixth year. Miller will announce the line-up of acts on May 1st.
As popular as the concert series is, Miller was uncertain if the ones in Paonia would happen for 2013. The series in Ridgway and Ouray are paid for by the towns.
"We didn't raise enough money to support the budget we had for last year," Miller says. "In Paonia, I'm responsible for raising all the money for the series."
Pickin' Productions has lots of sponsors. But Miller says, "It costs a good amount of money to put the series on. Last year it didn't break even, and it becomes tricky to put it on."
The Town of Paonia has been a regular sponsor, but Miller didn't attend their budget sessions because of the uncertainty of going forward. So, this year the series has to make it without the town's financial support.
To help raise the necessary funds and co-produce the series, Sharon Kropp has joined the Pickin' Productions team.
"Where we are at right now is fund raising. We have just over half the amount of money we need for this year, which is on par with where we should be, but we could get more people on board. We need new sponsors," Miller says. Although businesses seem to be the bedrock of the sponsorships, Pickin' is open to individual sponsors. The community sponsor level is $250 and up. At that level the sponsor gains marketing benefits. But, Pickin' Productions accepts any amount as a donation.
Miller is steadfast in not charging admittance to the concert series. "We feel pretty strongly that we want this to be a cross-cultural community event. We recognize that even the smallest charge of admission might keep some people away. Our goal is not to have anybody have any hesitation in coming to enjoy the music," Miller said. "Keeping it free creates the atmosphere that we are looking for."
In the last couple of years, Pickin' Productions has made some income through selling local beer and wine. Revolution Brewing and just about all the wineries in the area will be at the concert series. Local food vendors will be there as well. Folks are also invited to bring a picnic dinner if they want.
Pickin' Productions is partnering with the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition to run the kid's activity area this year.
As the new person at Pickin', Kropp says she sees the summer concert series as "a complete [cultural] experience that has been brought to our tiny little town." She has recognized the calibre of the talent that is brought in each summer. "It's a privilege for this whole community," Kropp said. "I've been here for 25 years ... and I've never seen a program or event that brought that experience to our community."
She adds, "Culture is being brought to our doorstep."
The main goal is to create an atmosphere where the entire community can get together. Miller wants people to be comfortable, hear some great music and have their kids running around.
"It's such a healthy environment," Kropp said.
Miller has played in countless communities with Sweet Sunny South. He notes, "Every one of them is a reflection of the community you are playing in. When I see people from out-of-town come see Pickin' in the Park in Paonia, it's such a great opportunity to give them ... a three-dimensional slice of what our town is." He doesn't always see that in other communities. "Our community is pretty amazing."
Miller is hoping people believe Pickin' in the Park is something to invest in. He doesn't want the series to ever end in Paonia. He believes the series belongs more to the community than anyone else. "We're just steering the ship."blog comments powered by Disqus