Idaho Botanical Garden upset over City of Boise's 2017 outdoor concert plans

Posted at 12:13 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 11:59:57-04

The City of Boise's potential plans to host an outdoor summer concert series in 2017 isn't sitting well with the Idaho Botanical Garden who've hosted the Outlaw Field Concert Series for the past nine years.

Recently, staff at the Idaho Botanical Garden learned of the City of Boise's plans to work with a private promoter to produce their own outdoor summer concerts in a city-operated park.

"The Garden opposes the City's plan to use taxpayer dollars and our taxpayer-funded public parks for restricted-access, for-profit events that serve only to displace park users and limit access to some of Boise's greatest treasures," a news release from the IBG stated.

“While we understand that it may not be the intent of the City of Boise to negatively impact the financial stability of the Idaho Botanical Garden (IBG), it is not possible for a small nonprofit organization such as IBG to compete with the resources and the subsidization of a concert series hosted at a City park,” said Erin Anderson, Executive Director, Idaho Botanical Garden. “The Outlaw Field Concert Series is a large part of IBG’s funding. The City’s proposed entry into competition will put our organization’s sustainability at risk and take away vital funds to support our mission as well as the programs and services that we provide in our community. Rather than engage in this competition, we urge the City of Boise to reconsider their intent to support concert series in a public park this summer.”

According to Doug Holloway with the City of Boise's Parks and Recreation Department, if the city summer concert series were to come to fruition, taxpayers wouldn't pay for a single thing.

"We're asking a lot of the promoter," Holloway said, including full funding for entertainment, security, clean up, and notifying neighbors of upcoming events.

Holloway also said three dollars from each ticket sold will go to the City of Boise to help cover things like the upcoming renovations to Ann Morrison Park.

At no time during an event would public park access be denied. Holloway says they anticipate thousands of people enjoying the "free" aspects of outdoor concerts at Ann Morrison, by setting up outside the restricted ticket-only area.

The city's plans are still in the early stages, and private promoters have until October 24 to submit proposals.

Holloway says they're doing their due diligence to see what's in the best interest of the community, but it's possible no such concert series will come to fruition.

Meanwhile, proceeds from the Idaho Botanical Garden’s 2017 Outlaw Field Concert Series will support the efforts to restore Table Rock following the human-caused 2016 fire that burned 2,500 acres. The funds will be used to rebuild and regrow the fragile ecosystem that is a much loved and integral part of the Boise community.