Festival Network sets Pops lineup
Festival Network has withdrawn a request to extend the Martha's Vineyard Festival to a second evening, and announced a lineup of performers that includes Gladys Knight performing with the Boston Pops, and the Neville Brothers. Also on the August 10 program are Steel Pulse, a reggae group, and the Minami Morita Trio, a jazz ensemble. Familiar Island performers also scheduled to appear include Kate Taylor, Willy Mason, and Entrain with Phil daRosa.
General admission tickets for the event will cost $75, plus a ticket surcharge yet to be determined. Festival Network will pay the town of Oak Bluffs $1 for every ticket sold. Last year, the Pops concert with Natalie Cole and Branford Marsalis was priced at $40, plus a $5.50 surcharge.
"Martha's Vineyard is a very unique market," said Rick White, senior producer for Festival Network. "The audience is incredibly diverse and very sophisticated. Trying to program something for everyone was really the challenge, I think we have accomplished that. I would hope to see 8,000 to 10,000 people there."
Festival Network drew pointed criticism last week after a request to extend the concert to Monday night in order to accommodate an unnamed artist who could not perform on Sunday. The Monday date conflicted with the annual fundraiser of Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, as well as a concert scheduled by the Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society.
"We had to find out if there was any flexibility," said Mr. White. "As it turns out, it didn't quite work for everybody."
The local charities designated as fundraising partners are the YMCA, The Vineyard House, and the Friends of Oak Bluffs. Their concerns about communication and definitive plans were addressed this past weekend in a meeting with Festival Network founder and co-chairman Christopher Shields.
"It was a very upbeat, positive meeting," said Christine Todd, capital campaign director for the YMCA. "We're planning full speed ahead to turn this into a terrific event."
The charities will raise funds by purchasing premium seating at face value, which Festival Network has set at $135, then reselling the tickets at a higher price with added services. The only premium seating available will be through the local charities.
Ms. Todd says initial planning calls for a two-tier price structure. About 100 seats will be sold as tables of ten in the front row, as an exclusive VIP setting with candlelight and flowers. About 900 seats will be sold as premium seating with catered drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Ms. Todd said the organizations have not yet settled on a price for the seating sold as part of their fundraising efforts.