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ALTON - Alton Amphitheater Commission Chair Dan Herkert said this past season of events at the amphitheater has been a success overall, but he has big plans for next season and hopes to get more sponsors involved as the venue looks to expand its offerings.

“Overall, it was a great season,” Herkert said. “The events that we had were all great this year, but you always want to do more, and that just comes down to sponsor dollars, and we’re working our tails off again on that already getting ready for next year.”

Herkert said he expects several of the amphitheater’s “Anchor Events” to return this year, including local favorites like the fireworks show on the Mississippi River, Food Truck Festival, Alton Expo, and the Jazz & Wine Festival, though he noted the Jazz & Wine Festival may be on a slightly different weekend due to the leap year.

Herkert said he heard several positive reviews of the "I Love the 90’s" show, which featured Vanilla Ice and several other acts from that era. He also said the Jazz & Wine Festival is quickly becoming a “marquee event” for the Alton area, which has found success with its more intimate on-stage seating arrangement in recent years. He also said the Food Truck Festival this year narrowly avoided the rain for a day of perfect weather and plenty of attendees. The Alton Expo, which is typically hot - much like the Food Truck Festival - also experienced perfect weather this year, Herkert said.

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Evntiv, an event planning company based in St. Louis, has been immensely helpful in connecting the amphitheater with acts and taking several aspects of large-scale event planning off the commission’s shoulders, Herkert said.

“Their expertise in how to put on any kind of event, whether it’s a smaller event to a large-scale concert is invaluable to us,” he said. “The working relationship with them has been great, just from the production side, all that they take off of our plate and the expertise they bring - because there are so many technical details, particularly with a big concert … and they also have the relationships with the sound companies, the lighting companies, things like that that they can help kind of shave costs off for us.”

The Alton Amphitheater Commission meets on the third Monday of each month at 4:30 p.m. at Alton City Hall, and those meetings are open to the public. Herkert said he always welcomes public input and spoke highly of his fellow commission members and work they continue doing to make each season at the amphitheater successful.

“I can’t speak enough about all the members of the commission and how hard they work,” he said. “Everybody worked their tails off this year, everybody was happy with what we did. Everybody has the same mindset as I do - we want to do more, it’s just a matter of having the funds to do it.”

The Alton Amphitheater Commission will be busy at work in the following weeks and months ahead as it prepares for next season. Herkert added that he always encourages event attendees to support their sponsors and that he’ll be reaching out to sponsors soon for their support in the upcoming season.

For more information about the Alton Amphitheater, visit altonriverfrontamphitheater.com. The full interview with Herkert is available at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video.

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