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Soldotna Chamber looks to 'AMP' up its summer concert series

During the month of November, fans of music at Soldotna Creek Park have an opportunity to help boost the program by voting in a national contest for the Levitt AMP Grant.

Voting is open until Nov. 20, at which time the top 25 cities in the poll will be in the running for the second round. At that point the Levitt Foundation reviews the finalists and will select up to 15 grant recipients.

“Well we’re really excited to 'AMP up' our music in the park series," said the Soldotna Chamber's Shannon Davis. "It has been something that’s been growing with the Soldotna Chamber for the last four years. I’d say every single week we were out in the park we had more and more people. And its really become a gathering place for the community on Wednesday night for our live music series.”

But, Davis says, the concerts are not inexpensive, with a minimum of 10 people working on it each week.

“It’s been my challenge ever since I began with the chamber and lived in Soldotna to find ways we could continue to grow this opportunity and this event for our community, while also being able to pay for everything,” she said.

The grant award is a dollar-for-dollar match from the foundation, with a minimum local contribution of $25,000. However, up to half the matching funds may be in-kind contributions. Davis said the local match is not a concern.

“It actually won’t be an issue at all. As I said the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce has been funding music in the park. And people may be surprised at exactly how much it costs to put an even like this on, all summer on," Davis said. "We’ve had 13 weeks for the past four years. Sound is very expensive, the acts themselves are expensive, labor to put events like this on is also expensive. So we’ve already been investing over $25,000 annually to put on this event, so really all the additional money that would come in from the grant would be used to, again, not to sound cheesy, but AMP up the opportunities we’ve already been creating.”

Recipients of the grant are required to stage at least 10 free concerts between May and October next year, and each headliner must be a professional musician or band.

Voting ends Nov. 29, and the top 25 will be reviewed with the 15 grantees being announced on Dec. 19. You can cast your vote here.

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