Newton made concert happen

For those who pooh-pooh Newton or say it doesn’t support local events, we wish they could have been out in Athletic Park last Saturday night at our inaugural Blues, Brews and Barbecue event.

They’d have had to eat their words, along with some delicious ribs.

More than a year ago, we dreamed up the festival in the back room of the office on a Friday afternoon. We’d heard the detractors. We asked if it was possible in Newton. And we decided to give the town we call home a chance.

And seeing the crowd of 1,050—many Newton residents—come together to have an absolute blast, we couldn’t be more thankful or proud.

Everyone who showed up: you guys rock. You guys make us want to do more of these things.

And everyone involved represents a community commitment to make events like this happen.

We’d like to thank the financial commitment of all of our sponsors. Check out our special section in the paper about the concert and look at the businesses and organizations in the community who spent some money to bring what we believe was a fun and rocking event to Newton. They deserve thanks and your business.

But with this editorial we would especially like to highlight our local governments, as we often do on this page.

They bent over backwards.

We had meetings with city officials and park department employees to plan logistics.

The city had crews out making sure the park looked nice, putting out trash cans and yards of snow fence, and the Newton Rec Commission allowed us to use the bandstand on the side of Fischer Field and helped out with the facility and with hanging the concert banner.

The Newton Convention and Visitor’s Bureau paid for buses, shuttling people form hotels to the concert.

Members of Harvey County Emergency Communications helped us plan for emergencies and worst-case scenarios.

We are thankful that our community leaders have chosen to help and prioritize growing local events as a way of improving the quality of life in Newton. We saw a chunk of them out Saturday enjoying the concert.

We recognize that help represents many hours of work and significant public investment for our attempt to bring a class act concert and food experience to Newton.

The City of Newton especially deserves recognition.

We got after them on the editorial page for a proposal to greatly increase charges for hosting special events. Such efforts caused a good amount of anger from our readers and community members.

The city reversed that course on the special events policy. And, after our experience with this concert, we’re willing to say that the city did everything they could to make the planning of the event and the concert experience the best it could be. We owe them thanks for helping to foster an environment in Newton that includes entertainment and exciting community events.

We look forward to making Blues, Brews and Barbecue an annual event in Newton, thanks to all of your support. We hope to continue to grow our event and make it into something you can all be proud to say calls Newton home.