First things first: Fort Reno is absolutely happening this year. We’ve already secured a permit and the necessary funding to host six shows, which will likely run throughout July. So no need to worry in that regard. That said, we’re hoping to go a bit bigger.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fort Reno Concert Series, and we’d like to celebrate with an extended season. To make that happen, we’ve decided to seek some additional financial support.
For those not already aware: Fort Reno is a concert series held each summer in Fort Reno Park, which is located in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. With a few exceptions (which we’ll get to shortly), it’s staffed and organized entirely by volunteers. The performers are all locals or -- in a few uncommon instances -- artists with deep ties to the D.C. music community. The events are all-ages and free to the public, and the artists don't take a fee. We’ve tried hard to keep the whole thing pretty simple: It’s just people in a park listening to music made by their peers. Over the years, performers have included Fugazi, Q and Not U, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Slant 6, Dismemberment Plan, Mary Timony, Priests, Mass Movement of the Moth, and many, many more.
While volunteers and artists have continued to generously offer up their time and music free of charge, the concert series has a few unavoidable expenses. We have to rent the Porta John, for one. And we have to pay the fella who supplies the PA. We’re also required to hire at least one off-duty police officer to remain on hand for the duration of each event. And the larger the anticipated audience, the more security we have to hire. So booking an artist of even modest local notoriety can get pricey. These costs aren’t going anywhere. We’ll need to meet them each year for the foreseeable future. All in all, each show costs roughly $750 for sound and security.
To that end, we’re asking for $4,000. This money will allow us to extend the 2018 concert season an additional four shows and budget for extra security, should the schedule necessitate it. Any extra money raised will help keep Fort Reno viable in the future. In addition to making this year a special, we’d like to make sure that next year is great, too. And the year after that. The next 50 years, even.
Our primary reward is the experience of attending a concert at Fort Reno this summer, which, of course, all are entitled to do free of charge. However, we recognize that folks who live far away or are otherwise unable to attend may wish to support the series. To that end, we'll be offering a special 50th anniversary T-shirt designed by Ryan Nelson. We'll also be rebooting a few vintage shirt designs, which will be available as a reward to backers.
Risks and challenges
Hey, the shows are still happening. So again, don’t worry about that. This is about improving the season and generating financial breathing room for future seasons. The lineup is, obviously, contingent upon artist availability/interest/applications. So we can’t make too many promises there.
VIDEO CREDIT: Fugazi + audience @ Fort Reno on July 30th, 1998. Courtesy of Bill McKenna. Do not adjust your speakers, the footage is silent.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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