Baxter City Council: Supports summer park music event

BAXTER--Using music to celebrate Baxter's parks was a reason behind the Baxter City Council's support for a summer event. Last year, the council hosted a summer gathering to celebrate the completion of renovations and construction of a new pavili...

The Baxter City Council meets for their regular meeting.Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch
The Baxter City Council meets for their regular meeting. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER-Using music to celebrate Baxter's parks was a reason behind the Baxter City Council's support for a summer event.

Last year, the council hosted a summer gathering to celebrate the completion of renovations and construction of a new pavilion at Oscar Kristofferson Park. The event combined hot dogs and classical music from Scott Lykins, piano and cello, and John Taylor Ward, baritone, of the Lakes Area Music Festival.

The festival is an annual summer series attracting some of the country's leading instrumental and vocal performers to Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. Performances are free of charge in an effort to bring the music to as many people as possible.

Baxter City Council member Quinn Nystrom said she thought about adding the music component to Baxter's park celebration in 2016 after attending Brainerd's established weekly Gregory Park Bandstand Summer Concert series.

Tuesday, Josh Doty said he was contacted by Lykins about a possible event this summer with some suggested dates. Doty also presented options and costs for promoting the event through advertisements, the city's newsletter among other options. Noting the pavilion is available for rent to the public, Doty said with the city reserving the structure anyone else interested in that particular date would have to find another spot.


Council member Todd Holman questioned if another venue may be best, thinking OK Park was more popular. The park at Whipple Beach also has a new, although smaller pavilion available. Nystrom said OK Park's pavilion was desired because it accommodates more people in the event of rain. Doty looked at bookings to date and Whipple Beach was currently more popular for weddings, but he said he hadn't researched data over multiple years. Doty noted the new pavilion at OK Park is also expected to be a popular destination along with Whipple Beach.

Council member Steve Barrows asked if the city was looking to create an annual event that perhaps a nonprofit should be taking over and promoting versus the city. Nystrom said as far as advertising, last year's event included a tie-in with the Lakes Area Music Festival and wouldn't have to include an advertising budget.

"I just thought it was a nice community event for Baxter and to show off our parks," Nystrom said.

Mayor Darrel Olson said last year there was an initial impression the music was being volunteered and it ended up as a musician's fee. Doty said staff didn't know until later in the process there would be a fee. The city paid $200, which was the anticipated cost again for a 2017 event. Olson said last year the event also took a lot of planning. Olson said if the parks commission thinks it's a good idea wouldn't this be a project they could take on and he wondered if the musicians would be the same or be rotated. Doty noted the OK Park event also involved the grand opening, which included setting up food for the ceremony so an event could be more or less involved in the future regarding staff time.

Olson said the decision before the city was whether members wanted to host the event and then it takes on a life of its own. Picking potential dates was the first and only pressing goal before the council if members were interested, Doty said.

"You asked for our thoughts. My thoughts are I think it's a great idea," Holman said. "I really liked what we did the way it all came together last year it was a fabulous event. It was tied into the grand opening event. We had more people there because of that too, all the pieces came together."

If the city is going to do a music program once a summer, Holman said the city should budget and plan for it and then the parks commission could decide on musicians and details. Olson asked for the consensus from the council to host an annual event.

Nystrom spoke in favor of doing it again and the connection to the Lakes Area Music Festival that brings world-class musicians to the lakes area. The Lakes Area Music Festival's next lakes area event is 7 p.m. March 25 at Pequot Lakes High School.


"I think it's a great thing to bring to a Baxter park," Nystrom said.

Doty said there were several dates Lykins presented as options in July.

"If you did it over the Fourth of July you could maybe piggyback on Community Action events and advertising that they do," said Council member Mark Cross. Olson said as long as it didn't interfere with what Community Action was doing. The council considered dates around the Fourth of July.

Doty said the exact date could be clarified later.

What To Read Next
Get Local