The City Council last week agreed to spend just over $25,000 on bands that will play for a little under two hours each at the three First Friday concerts and Oakley's Ninth Cityhood Celebration.
On June 6, Papa Doo Run Run, a Beach Boys tribute band, will perform. At the Cityhood Celebration on July 5, the entertainment will be a party band called Jukebox Heroes. On Aug. 1, Joanie Morris will perform a tribute to Patsy Cline. The last concert, on Sept. 5, features Chicago Tribute Authority, which, as you might guess, will perform songs by the group Chicago.
"The First Friday at the Plaza concerts will be moving to our new (Civic Center Plaza)
park and amphitheatre this year," wrote Redevelopment Director Barbara Mason in a staff report. "Providing special events in the historic downtown district is intrinsic to the downtown revitalization effort."
In past years the concerts have been held at the Laurel ball fields and Freedom High School football field.
At the Feb. 26 meeting, Councilman Brad Nix suggested expanding the First Friday concerts - a reference to their taking place on the first Friday of the month - to two Fridays per month.
"Three nights (in the summer) doesn't seem like very much," said Nix. "As we have our Civic Center coming together, we have a greater opportunity to do things."
Nix noted that the city won't be holding a farmers' market this year, so money has been freed up in the budget to hire local bands on perhaps the third Friday of the month. "It seemed like this was a good opportunity to amplify what we can do for the community," he said.
Councilman Kevin Romick said he's interested in having a concert every Friday night this summer with local bands and a farmers' market. It will be "a way of gathering people, making downtown as the place to be in Oakley on Friday nights."
Councilwoman Carol Rios suggested getting community organizations and high school clubs involved and turning the events into fundraisers for their activities - "maybe make it totally a community affair."
Mason said that due to the economic slowdown, the farmers' market might not return to Oakley for a couple of years. But she added that city staff could look into hiring local bands and getting nonprofit groups and Scout troops involved in the activities this summer.