WASHINGTON — The Fort Reno concerts are free to the public, but putting them on isn’t.
Organizer Amanda MacKaye says the series, which has hosted DC-area bands at the park in upper Northwest since 1968, is in need of money to keep the music playing this summer.
In a post on the Fort Reno concert website MacKaye says the group doesn’t have a permit from the National Park Service, or the money to pay for it.
Last year, concert and Park Service officials worked out a deal so that a $2,640 fee could be paid in installments.
“Last year’s change in procedure from the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police emptied (and then some) our piggy bank,” MacKaye wrote.
MacKaye says she has been informed that the concert series will again have to pay for police presence.
“I shudder at having to write that because it makes the concert series appear like an unsafe environment — something it definitely is not.”
MacKaye says she had hoped that last year’s peaceful series would have convinced authorities to not require police on-hand.
“Alas, here we are,” wrote MacKaye.
The site encourages viewers to “give what you can to help us have another summer of music in the park,” and offers a link to the group’s fiscal sponsor The Washington Peace Center’s PayPal account.
MacKaye’s posting does not mention why she was alerting fans to the series’ financial problems just weeks before the concerts would begin, in light of last year’s scramble to keep the series afloat.
“The National Park Service and United States Park Police recognize the importance and value of the Fort Reno concerts to the community,” says spokesperson Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, in an email to WTOP.
“The NPS and USPP met with the concert organizer in February to review last year’s series and discuss planning for 2015,” says Anzelmo-Sarles, who says one of the primary goals in permitting any event is to ensure public safety.
She says the hourly fee for providing officers increased from $66 per hour last year to $70 in 2015.
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