Pamyua performs at the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series in Soldotna Creek Park on July 3, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Pamyua performs at the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series in Soldotna Creek Park on July 3, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Public voting for music series grant begins

Residents can vote online for Soldotna to receive the Levitt AMP Grant Award for the summer of 2020.

Peninsula residents have the opportunity to directly impact the future of Soldotna’s summer music series.

The city of Soldotna is in the running for receiving the Levitt AMP Grant Award for the summer of 2020. The award is a matching grant of $25,000 provided through the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation that is given to small and mid-sized towns with the purpose of “strengthening the social fabric of America through the power of free, live music,” according to their website.

Fifteen cities will receive the grant, and the recipients are chosen through online public voting. Soldotna is one of 33 cities currently in the running. Starting Friday morning at 10 a.m., anyone can sign up to vote for Soldotna as one of the winners.

To vote for Soldotna, people can go to Levitt.org and click on the banner that says “Sign up to vote.” All that’s needed is a name and a valid email address. Voting runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 20. Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Events and Programs Director Andy Heuiser said that they will know by Dec. 20 if Soldotna is awarded the grant.

A link to vote will also be on the Soldotna Chamber website, and Heuiser said that they will be at Kenai Peninsula College next week spreading the word about the grant.

Since 2015, Soldotna Creek Park has been host to a summer music series — previously known as Soldotna’s Music in the Park. In 2019, the concert series received a big boost when it was one of 15 cities awarded the Levitt AMP Grant.

The event was renamed the Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series, and thanks to the grant the organizers were able to host 12 free concerts at Soldotna Creek Park this summer.

Throughout the summer, Heuiser and the other organizers brought in bands and artists from across the country that drew hundreds, sometimes thousands, of peninsula residents to the park every Wednesday.

Heuiser said that on their two busiest nights more than 2,500 people were counted at Soldotna Creek Park.

Part of reapplying for the grant was that Heuiser and the others at Vision Soldotna had to explain how they hope to use the grant to expand on what they’ve already done. Vision Soldotna is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization attached to the Chamber that is responsible for seeking out and receiving the grant. Heuiser said that their goals for next year include bringing in new and diverse acts as well as expanding on more of the cultural aspects of the series.

“This voting phase is super important in terms of us getting the grant again,” Heuiser said. “But we feel confident that we’ll get it.”

In the event that Soldotna does not receive the grant, Heuiser said not to worry: there will be concerts at the park regardless.

“Soldotna won’t be letting this music series go any time soon,” Heuiser said.

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