Concerts are still in the park

Costa Mesa's summertime Concerts in the Park series, which have been part of the community for a decade, were in danger of being cancelled because of city budget cuts.

But thanks to help from the Costa Mesa Community Foundation, which stepped in, the Tuesday-night concerts in July are still on.

The foundation went out and found sponsors for the event and contributed funds of its own, said Bill Turpit, president of the organization, which raises funds for various projects in the city.

"For anyone that's been to a concert in the past at Fairview [Park], you realize it brings the entire community together," he said. "It brings all ages of the community together, and particularly families, in a really beautiful Costa Mesa park."

The City Council last month voted to lay off employees and make some part-time. The council also downsized and eliminated many city services and programs in order to close the projected $16.4-million deficit in next fiscal year's city budget. The concert series was one of the items slated for elimination.

Last year, when Costa Mesa began looking for ways to deal with its ailing budget, city officials reached out to the community foundation. Together, the six-week concert series was maintained. In 2009, the community foundation donated $4,000; this year, it was $7,000.

Unlike years past, this year's concert series will only be held for four weeks.

"This year, what was different is we started a little early," Turpit said. "When we learned that there would be no participating from the city, as they had in past years, we went out to the community and raised sufficient funds for all of the four concerts."

The sponsors include Craig and Associates, the Daily Pilot, Patrick's Pub, Jennifer Pritchett at Coldwell Banker, and Weichman Associates Realtors.

The concert series attracts 1,500 to 2,000 nightly guests, said Robby Waite, Costa Mesa's assistant recreation supervisor.

"It's nothing fancy," Turpit said. "It's music, it's kids running around, lots of dogs on leashes. It's more or less a summer fun free-for-all in the park."

All of the concerts performed at Fairview Park, 2525 Placentia Ave., are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. and end at 7:45 p.m.

The concert schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, July 6: "Help!," a costume Beatles tribute band.

Tuesday, July 13: "Bone Sharks," a surf-rock music band.

Tuesday, July 20: "Flattop Tom and His Jump Cats," a blues band.

Tuesday, July 27: "Nassau Steel," a Caribbean music band.

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