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Rains cause $50K loss: Hospice works to fix shortfall

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Leaders of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana hope to recoup about $50,000 in revenue shortfall from last Saturday’s rained-out concert with Tommy James and the Shondells at Mill Race Park.

They are doing that by selling to churches, school groups and others the unsold chips, pretzels, frozen hot dogs, glow necklaces and T-shirts meant for fundraising at the event.

Organizers said that could amount to $25,000 or more in coming weeks. And financial donations, including more than $1,000 in the past few days, will help.

“We really can’t plan much further until we know exactly the amount of our loss,” said Sandy Carmichael, president of the nonprofit agency.


Among changes, they are considering the cost and advantages of event insurance, similar to what agencies such as the Columbus Area Arts Council carries on the Johnson Witkemper Biggest Block Party Ever.

But, ideally, officials remain committed to an annual outdoor concert — one that has attracted thousands annually over the years.

“We had only one rain (in 1988) in the first 25 years of concerts,” Carmichael said. “And then we have three in a row?”

Last year’s concert with Three Dog Night was moved to Columbus North High School gym three days beforehand because of forecast severe storms spinning off Hurricane Isaac. It drew about 3,000, slightly less than half-capacity, and much less than the estimated 10,000-plus the event had drawn in

previous concerts at the park.

In 2011, the concert was aborted when a severe storm hit the park before headliner Grand Funk Railroad could take the amphitheater stage. Both concerts raised about $50,000 from sponsorships, food and T-shirt sales, according to organizers. Although totals for last week have not been finalized, Our Hospice expects that figure to hit the $50,000 mark as well.

The $50,000 in losses were additional revenue anticipated from the concert.

Carmichael emphasized that, even if the $50,000 is not made up by year’s end, the hospice’s services to 212 patients and their families in 15 counties will remain unaffected. She said other elements could be trimmed from its $12 million annual budget if necessary, whether that be office equipment such as laptop computers or extra staff training or travel.

“We will never decrease

the care we provide,” said

Carmichael, the hospice’s only leader in its 33-year history.

Carmichael mentioned that Our Hospice has considered other locations, including the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds, for the logistics and space for the concert. But she and Sheryl Tracey, the agency’s manager of fund development and special events, said local venues that large are limited.

“As disappointed as we are with the cancellation, we know that Hospice has been through a lot through the years,” Carmichael said. “And considering the serious nature of what our families go through, this still ultimately is just a concert. We have to keep that in perspective.”

Tracey and Carmichael said they are interested to hear about possible future changes at Mill Race to make it more concert friendly.

Some costs of the annual concert are covered by sponsors, including this year’s $33,000 cost for Tommy James and the Shondells.

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