East Aurora village officials were talking Monday night about the success of last weekend's Taste of East Aurora event when two residents pitched their ambitious plan for an all-day East Aurora Music Festival, similar to what Hamburg does, but on a smaller scale.
"We're pretty much in the planning stages and really want to start small and keep it simple," said Dina Calucci, a co-producer of the music fest, along with John Venezia, who brainstormed the idea. "Because it's the first year, we wanted to start small. It certainly has potential for growth."
Calucci said the organizing group plans to have all genres of music on tap next June 8 "to entertain all types of people. ... If it takes off, I'd love to have it take off and grow and have six to 10 venues."
The plan calls for all-day music by local performers at four locations throughout the village. Organizers say they're modeling the event - which would be a fundraiser for two local organizations - after the Village of Hamburg's popular music fest, where shuttles are now used and more than 20 venues are featured.
"East Aurora would be looking to have four venues, and it would be a fundraiser," Calucci said. "We want decent weather, and it will be a walkable event. It seems that people are looking for more local events and aren't going out as much, with the price of gas."
The main hub would be the Aurora Ice Rink on Riley Street, where bands would play from mid-afternoon until about 10 p.m. The rink-based music would be designed to be family-friendly and would run until 10 p.m., while three bars/restaurants would have indoor-only band music from late afternoon through midnight geared more toward older adults.
Wristbands for $10 would allow festival-goers entry into the venues, which include the rink site, Riley Street Station adjacent to the rink, Wallenwein's Hotel on Oakwood Avenue, and the East End Grill & Tavern on upper Main Street.
An off-duty police officer would be stationed at the ice rink, while Boy Scouts have been lined up to help clean up the rink area. Bands would face Main Street from the rink, and would not be positioned toward the surrounding neighborhood near the rink.
After expenses, a 50/50 split of proceeds would benefit two local nonprofit organizations - the Aurora Ice Association and People & Places, a local organization based on Riley Street that helps developmentally disabled adults. "We will not make a dime off of this," Venezia said.
"I love the fact that it's a fundraising opportunity," Village Trustee Peter Mercurio said.
Organizers are eager, already having had EA Music Fest business cards and small posters made up. But they wanted village input Monday before proceeding further. The Village Board seemed very receptive to the concept.
It is too early in the process for the village to formally approve the festival, and more information is needed before a special permit is granted, but Mayor Allan Kasprzak asked the group to keep the village updated as plans progress.
"There might be a backlash. Maybe 11 or midnight is too late for the music ," he said. "One thing that affects most people is noise."
Village officials cautioned that the participating bars may need a special-use permit and the village wants to know from the bars what their specific plans are for indoors.