Payson's popular concert series, Concert Under the Stars, got a recent boost in funding from a $2,100 Arizona Commission on the Arts grant.
Payson Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind said Beth Kreider, the town's recreation coordinator, wrote the grant, and representatives from the commission monitored the concert series and awarded the funding based on the turnout and the success of the weekend shows.
Schwind said the entertainment, which is free to the public, attracts 600 to 800 people each week to the stage at Green Valley Park. At those figures, Schwind estimates the cost of putting on the series averages $1.47 per person.
The cost per band varies. Schwind said the town has paid as little as $410 for a band and as much as $2,600.
The town plans to add a roof to the performing stage at Green Valley Park later in the year, when SRJ Homes has time to do the work.
The concert series, now in its third year, began in 1997 with about $5,000 from the bed tax fund. The first year, the town presented six weekend shows.
"From the response we got, we went to eight weekend shows in 1998, and we'll continue that number," Schwind said.
In 1998, $9,000 from the bed tax fund, went for Concert Under the Stars. This year, the cost will remain about the same, but money from the town will be offset by the grant from the arts commission.
"We hope in the future that the success of our program makes us eligible for more of a match," Schwind said. "We're really grateful to the commission for this year's grant."