RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Disappointment as word spreads that a popular summer concert series has ended.
The marketing firm behind Fridays at Sunset pulled plug after nearly two decades. This is a big blow to fans who came out to Kanawha Plaza for the shows. But the people who ran it said it was time to end the concert series and focus on some of their younger events.
Both aspiring and legendary singers entertained crowds at Kanawha Plaza. The popular summer concert series now silenced.
"It's ridiculous. That was really the only thing a lot of people had on the summer time," said Brittney Slater from Richmond.
"I think it's an end to a great thing and wondering why," said Paul Jones from Henrico.
Johnson, Inc., the marketing firm behind Fridays at Sunset said it was time to let go while on top.
"It's bittersweet for us as well. We have been a staple of downtown Richmond, the whole entertainment scene, for almost 18 years and people feel that way they feel a void and we understand that," said Necole Simmonds with Johnson, Inc.
Last summer, the city cut funding from $125,000 to $50,000.
Simmonds said that wasn't a factor that most of their funding came from sponsors and ticket sales. But admits they felt the effects of a down economy.
"We were hearing feedback that those same patrons that could have attended 7 and 8 shows a few years ago, now had to choose between one or two," said Simmonds.
"Why didn't they drop the ticket prices and try to do something different," asked Jones.
Tickets ranged from $20 to $40 depending on the show.
Simmonds said it wasn't feasible to reduce prices when artist and production expenses remained the same.
"It was just our time as a firm, a small firm, to focus our energy and attention to those lines of business," said Simmonds.
Like the Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont.
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said Fridays at Sunset has been a great event for the city, that he's disappointed it will not continue, but interested to see what Johnson, Inc. may have on the horizon.
Simmonds said their sponsors were just incredible to work with and wanted to thank the thousands of fans who came out in support for the last 18 years.
A photo album showcases some of the series' highlights at www.fridaysatsunset.com.
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