No Wednesday Nite Live concerts at Stamford in 2022

At the height of its first year, its organizers — the Downtown Special Services District — canned the series as infections ravaged the country. Then, in 2021, incessant rainstorms and hurricanes, coupled with low concert attendance, dealt another blow.

But in the third year of the pandemic, Alive at Five returns, and it’s armed with new changes.

Stamford Downtown announced on Wednesday that Stamford’s annual summer concert series will return to Mill River Park on July 14. This year, the event will undergo a minor makeover as organizers fine-tune what the concerts can accomplish after two years.

“Last year didn’t run in the dark,” said DSSD Chairman David Kooris.

DSSD documents show that the “COVID-induced change” in 2021 hurt its finances. Between the smaller Thanksgiving event held in November that replaced the traditional parade and low summer concert attendance, the DSSD expects a $350,000 deficit. The Council of Representatives also cut $50,000 from the city’s contribution to the DSSD’s operating budget, reducing it from $140,000 to $190,000. However, budget allocations represent only a fraction of the DSSD budget.

Kooris said anticipated financial difficulties forced some of this year’s changes.

“We tried to find a way to reformat or reposition the event to be successful,” he said. This involved a name change. He saw Alive at Five having the most success when targeting young people, and some of the event’s features were becoming outdated.

The @ sign formerly in “Alive at Five” is the perfect example. Keeping it in the name of the event felt like a callback to another era before the symbol was associated with social media. According to Kooris, removing it from the name and logo felt like a refresh.

Other hardware changes are also coming this year. DSSD told Hearst Connecticut Media that it chose to retire the Wednesday Nite Live concert series, which launched in 2016. Kooris said the decision allowed them to focus on a “millennial” audience, as the Wednesday concerts often featured acts of return and were open to people. of all ages.

“The truth is, bands that catered to older audiences weren’t getting the ticket sales we needed to break even,” he said. “And so we focused. We’re only doing four shows this year.”

Over the years, DSSD has experimented with different Wednesday night offerings. Prior to Wednesday Nite Live’s debut, the organization held concerts like Pops in the Park and Jazz-Up July throughout the 2000s.

Although the death of Wednesday Nite Live marks the end of an era, the DSSD is considering replacing it with a new free event for the community. The organization plans to announce the new summer stage offering in the coming weeks, according to Kooris.

As for the musicians this year, the DSSD tried to generate a list of bands with songs easily recognizable by people. The four musical groups that performed this year flirted with serious success on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which tracks sales, radio airplay and online streaming in the United States. TI, for example, has 57 total songs on the charts, and four, including “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life”, were the No. 1 hit in the country.

Recognizable music draws a bigger crowd for these weekday gigs: “You’ve heard it in the car a bunch of times. You know the words, and you’re going to have a drink in your hand on a Thursday afternoon and be able to sing,” Kooris said.

In a way, Alive at Five has done a full 360 in its almost 25 years. When the DSSD founded the event in 1998, it wanted to encourage office workers in the city to stay a little later, have a drink with friends, enjoy the city.

“People are coming downtown now, aren’t they?” Kooris said. “Downtown is successful for a variety of reasons. The biggest challenge we have right now is getting workers back into the office. »

The DSSD hopes that the concerts will make the start of the school year a little sweeter.

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