A one-year pandemic hiatus and a change in major sponsor might have been enough to end Litchfield’s family-friendly outdoor music festival.
But a small group of volunteers decided they couldn’t let that happen.
So the rebranded Songs of Summer Festival — with the tag line “Music brings people together in Harmony” — will go on Saturday, Aug. 14. The festival, featuring three musical acts, will run from 2 to 10 p.m. Along with the established bands, the festival will begin with a Songs of Summer talent show, and there will be games and food vendors available throughout the day.
“We started with nothing, you know, but I think we’ve done really well with the very tiny budget that we’ve had,” said Cathy Michaud, a Songs of Summer board member who handles marketing.
After three years as the primary sponsor of the then-named Summer Bash, Thrivent opted not to continue the sponsorship after the 2020 pandemic cancellation. That left a few people with close associations to the “Bash” with a decision to make, according to Monica Schreiber, a Songs of Summer Festival board member.
Schreiber received the call from Greg Armstrong of The Fabulous Armadillos, the band who had headlined the Summer Bash in its three years of existence.
“Greg called one day and said … ‘What would you think of picking it up?’” said Schreiber, who operates the local Gentz Financial Services office. “And I said, ‘Well, that would be great if I can keep getting a great group of people together that can help me, because I can’t do it myself.’”
She and Michaud soon pulled together a seven-member board of directors, many of whom also had volunteered with the Summer Bash.
“We kind of kicked it around, (asking each other) ‘Do you think we can? Or do you think we can’t?’” said Schreiber, who helped organize the Summer Bash during its three-year run. “And we just said, ‘We think we can.’”
Their belief in the festival was rewarded.
“We’ve had a lot of great response,” Michaud said, to fundraising efforts for the festival. “A lot of businesses have stepped up. So, with the money that’s been committed, services that have been donated, we are slowly putting this together. And I think it’s exciting.”
Exciting beyond the music and family fun, Michaud said, because what the festival does for nonprofit groups in the area. Donations from this year’s festival — no admission will be charged — will go to five nonprofits chosen from a group of applicants, as will proceeds from a raffle. The five groups chosen were Lutheran Social Services, Litchfield Dragon Goal Line Club, Rise & Roam, Children’s Grief Connection and School of St. Philip. In addition, all the food vendors — Litchfield Rescue Squad, Knights of Columbus, Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato hockey, Litchfield Goal Line Club and Trinity Lutheran Church of Grove City’ — are nonprofit organizations that will keep their own sales.
“The most special part about this event that we think makes it unique is how it’s a free event open to the public, that is offering a great day of bringing our community together, you know, in a family-friendly, fun aspect,” Schreiber said. “I mean, this is really unique.
“And then to know it’s such a huge, wonderful fundraising component, or opportunity, for all these groups, it’s really neat,” Schreiber said.