Whitesburg KY

Your vote could be the one to bring free concert series back to Letcher Co.

Organizers of the Levitt Amp Concert Series in Whitesburg are looking for another shot at the $25,000 grant this year.

Committee members have already filed an application with the Levitt Amp Foundation for a second summer of concerts, and the application is open for voting by the public now. Cowan Community Center and the City of Whitesburg partnered on last year’s grant, and will again this year.

Tiffany Craft, a member of the committee and wife of Whitesburg Mayor James Craft, said the concert series was popular, and the number of people who attended grew until the 10-concert series ended August 6.

“Even rain didn’t stop it,” she said. “People just brought umbrellas and came anyway.”

Levitt Amp is a national concert series. Communities across the United States are given grants of $25,000, and then each community must raise another $25,000 to match it.

“We already have the match this year,” Craft said. “We already have the money confirmed, so we don’t even have to fundraise.”

Levitt Amp selects a group of applicants as finalists and lists them on its web site. People can read the applications and vote for those they feel should receive the grants. Last year, Whitesburg, Berea and Middlesboro were all among the 15 chosen to receive the grant.

Concerts were held every Thursday night at the Mountain Heritage stage on Depot Street. Plans are to hold the concerts again at the same place, but Craft said she hopes they can be held on Fridays next year to make it easier for people who work to attend.

The intent of the concerts is to provide people with concert experiences they would not otherwise be able to have in their towns. Concerts this year included the Lexington Philharmonic, Appalatin, a jazz-fusion group from Louisville, and the Nasti Nati Brass Band, a New Orleans-style brass band from Ohio. One criticism of the concert series this year was that it was heavy with bands from the surrounding counties, some of which already play semiregularly in Whitesburg. Though Craft said people who attended enjoyed the shows, some thought those bands were ones people would have been able to see even without the Levitt Amp grant.

“One thing I’m pushing for is for us to have more say in the bands that come,” she said.

Residents can help bring the concert series back to Whitesburg by voting on the Levitt Amp Foundation’s page at www.grant.levittamp.org.

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