ALTON - The Alton Riverfront Amphitheater is gearing up for its summer season, and they commission looking for sponsors to help them make this year’s lineup the best yet.

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“The idea was always, we’re not little old Alton, we can do big things,” explained Amphitheater Commissioner Dan Herkert. “[The riverfront is] a catalyst for bringing people to town and we enjoy playing a small part in hopefully making the city a place people want to come to. Not only for our residents, but let’s bring more people here and show them what we have to offer.”

The amphitheater already has its anchor events planned, starting with the Fireworks on the Mississippi on July 3, 2024. They will sponsor the annual Food Truck Festival on Aug. 24, 2024, followed by the Jazz and Wine Festival on Aug. 31 and the Alton Expo from Sept. 5–8, 2024.

As a venue, the amphitheater also hosts events for organizations around town. Alton Main Street’s Earthtones Festival will be at the amphitheater on Sept. 21, 2024. The City of Alton plans to hold the 2024 Alton Midwest Nationals, a formula 1 powerboat championship, on the riverfront from June 21–23, 2024. Herkert said the commission is still learning about what role the amphitheater will play during the championship, but they are eager to get involved.

“We’re excited just to be part of it, and we hope it turns into an annual event that brings a lot of people to downtown Alton,” he said. “We’re just going to be a small piece of it, and we’ll take on whatever needs to be done to make it successful. We’re ready, willing and able, but it’s still a matter of working out those details.”

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The Amphitheater Commission is still considering what acts they might bring to Alton this year. Herkert explained that the music acts they schedule will almost entirely depend on funding and how many sponsors come forward.

During a recent Alton City Council meeting, Alderman Ray Strebel spoke against the dispensary as a sponsor for the amphitheater. Herkert said this is a “rumor” and nothing has been decided yet.

“Just to be clear if there’s anything out there, the dispensary expressed interest in being a sponsor, not necessarily any level or anything,” Herkert explained. “They came to our sponsor meeting, they took the information and that was the extent of it. I never even spoke to anybody from the dispensary so I really didn’t understand what the alderman’s question was, and if he had made a five-minute call I could have answered it for him…But as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing there and it’s water under the bridge and I’ve moved on from it.”

The final list of sponsors isn’t finalized yet, but Herkert noted that Mayor David Goins has helped the commission reach out to potential sponsors and find several interested community members and organizations. The sponsorships will fund the musical acts that come to the amphitheater, so this is an important time for the commission. Herkert encourages anyone who is interested in becoming a sponsor to reach out to Lyndsey Younger with the Alton Parks and Recreation Department at lyounger@cityofaltonil.gov for more information.

The amphitheater’s ultimate goal is to bring more people to Alton. By bringing in tourism dollars, they can also help other businesses in town. Herkert is excited to finalize the amphitheater’s sponsors and lineup soon, and he invites community members to enjoy everything they offer this summer.

“Whether we can pull something off always entirely depends on funds,” Herkert added. “Any of the larger events, you bring the people to town, they go out to our bars, they go to our restaurants, they stay in hotels, they’re generating sales tax that’s going back into the coffers of the city. Any of that would be the city’s benefit and our business’ benefit because they have customers coming into their places. So those larger events, you’d be surprised how many things they touch with that many people coming to town.”

For more information about the Alton Riverfront Amphitheater, visit AltonRiverfrontAmphitheater.com.

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