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Gary makes note of Labor Day music fest

LollapaloozDay Three damaged grounds from yesterday's storms thforced evacuatifrom overflowed music fest. Sunday The  Sony stage with Policconcert.

Lollapalooza Day Three, damaged grounds from yesterday's storms that forced the evacuation from the overflowed music fest. Sunday, The Sony stage with Polica in concert. August 5, 2012. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 22, 2014 6:09AM



GARY — There was a time when Gary hosted outdoor festivals, drawing thousands to its lakefront and parks throughout the city.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson recently said plans for a Lakeshore Music Festival and celebrity golf tournament are an attempt to bring back days like those.

And, she’s hired and partially funded a limited liability corporation to do the marketing and fundraising for the Labor Day weekend events.

“It’s our effort to return to the summer festivals we had in Gary before when we had more resources,” Freeman-Wilson said. Along with work done by a national non-profit Fuller Center, a Habitat for Humanity type organization repairing homes on the city’s West Side, and a Michael Jackson birthday celebration planned for Aug. 29, the music festival “is the icing on the cake.”

Legendary House music DJ Alan King and jazz artist Lalah Hathaway will headline the fest. There also will be a morning worship service and a gospel concert.

The Board of Public Works and Safety, a three-member board of administration department heads, recently approved transferring $20,000 from a media fund to the Lakeshore Music Festival LLC, a corporation started by Merry Green, head of the Expo for Today’s Black Woman and more, and Debra Carrington, a special events and public relations expert and Freeman-Wilson supporter.

Freeman-Wilson said she expects the festival and golf tourney to cost about $60,000.

The LLC is expected to raise substantially more than the $20,000 from the city, Freeman-Wilson said, and the hope is they will do so from a number of different sources.

The city traditionally has gone to major corporations in the area to raise money for events, but the LLC should bring in a wider range of donors, she said.

“One of the things we’re asking (the company) to do is bring in new partners,” Freeman-Wilson said. “Success, for me, would be to do the event without NIPSCO having to spend a penny.”

The contract with the corporation calls for the city and the company to split proceeds from the event based on how much each raises. For example, if the LLC raises 60 percent of the total revenue for the project, it will get 60 percent of any thing left after all of the expenses have been covered.

The same goes for the city, Freeman-Wilson said.



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