The fate of Madison’s annual Atwood Summerfest is undecided as the Goodman Community Center, which usually hosts the event, has chosen not to hold the summer music festival this year.
Goodman Community Center Development Director Rohan Barrett said the center’s decision as an organization to step away from the event is definitive. However, he said it is yet to be determined whether another community organization will take it over.
Barrett said finding another organization to host the event is a work in progress.
“We are trying to work with a couple of community organizations to make sure the event continues to happen,” Barrett said.
Barrett said since the Goodman Community Center has always been the sole host of Atwood Summerfest, it has been difficult for the center to find another organization to take on the responsibility.
Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center hosts Le Fete de Marquette, a four-day festival with more than 40,000 attendees, Executive Director Gary Kallas said. He said the center also co-produces the Willy Street Fair in September. He said because of these, the Wil-Mar center has no time to assist in the production of Atwood Summerfest “in any way, shape or form.”
As of now, Barrett said the community center is trying to work with the Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara Neighborhood Association to see if they would be willing to put on the event.
The Atwood Summerfest typically takes place in late July on the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Atwood Avenue in Madison, the event’s website said.
The festival offers large stages for live musical performances, booths for goods and artwork and carts for serving ethnic and local eats to attendees. Barrett said the people of the Goodman Community Center enjoyed putting on the event in previous years.
“Based on what we can hear back from regarding Summerfest, I just want to reiterate that for us the event is not cancelled this year assuming that someone can take it on,” Barrett said.
Kallas said festivals are beneficial for neighborhoods because they typically bring in large crowds of people who have money to spend. Whether the money spent is at the festival itself or at the local restaurants and bars, festivals bring significant business into neighborhoods in Madison, he said.
According to Kallas, festivals also provide intangible benefits to communities. He said they allow for a “coming together” for the community to work together intimately as volunteers and coordinate the event.
“When you do festivals, it is always a shot in the arm for local commerce and local businesses,” Kallas said. “When you do not do an event like this, you lose a value, even if it is intangible.”