MOORPARK — The free summer concert--that American ritual of outdoor music, food and bugs galore--may be a thing of the past.
Faced with declining attendance and donations, the city of Moorpark may scrub its outdoor concert series. The City Council is scheduled to discuss the issue tonight.
When the series began three years ago, its future looked bright. Attendance averaged between 200 and 300 a show. Donations reached $8,000.
But during the last two years, the crowds began to thin. Despite shows featuring everything from country music to reggae, attendance last year dwindled to 100 or 200 people per concert. And donations from local businesses totaled just $2,000, leaving the city to pay the rest of price from its general fund.
Recreation Supervisor Shelly Shellabarger said she didn't know why attendance dropped.
"It's hard to tell," she said. "It's summertime, people are busy with their families. . . . We wouldn't know unless we surveyed people."
Mayor Pat Hunter said the series may need more advertising. But he wasn't willing to give up the concerts just yet.
"It's a great resource," he said. "It's a good way to enjoy some music, have a picnic. Our climate is perfect for this."