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May 26, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Booze for tunes? Booze for tunes? (May 26, 2004)

Beer will be sold at city's summer concerts to keep them going

by Bill D'Agostino

Jane Stanford would roll over in her grave if she heard the news about the city's Twilight summer concert series.

Beer is going to be sold at the series, a prospect would undoubtedly annoy Jane's ghost. Jane, who founded Stanford University with her husband, had in her time successfully pushed for Palo Alto to be a dry city.

The Mendicino Brewing Company is donating the beer for this year's evening concerts, held at various parks around the city. Proceeds will go to help support the struggling concert series.

"We don't want to encourage everyone to get drunk," but the city will be using the sales to keep next year's concert series afloat, said producer Suzanne Warren. "We've never done anything like this before."

The concerts lost funding last year, as the city chopped its budget because of declining revenues. Donations collected by residents at concerts last year kept them afloat this year.

Warren is confident the 10 evening Twilight concerts will be a go for another year after this summer. The eight Brown Bag lunchtime concerts are another story.

The city will be renovating the site of the Brown Bag concerts, Cogswell Park, in 2005. Potential new locations for the concerts include City Hall or California Avenue, but both have limitations. More sponsorship will also need to be found to keep them going, Warren said.

"Our priority is always the Twilight" concerts, since they're more popular, she said.

The two concert series cost more than $25,000 to produce. This summer's concerts begin in early June.

Information and a list of performers can be viewed at www.cityofpaloalto.org/artsculture/brownbag.html and www.cityofpaloalto.org/artsculture/twilightconcerts.html.

Staff writer Bill D'Agostino can be found at bdagostino@paweekly.com


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