Tastes, Tunes, and Traditions: Madison Events Get Creative
One of the biggest lessons from the last year and a half is that change, while hard, can be a great thing. Some of us take comfort in the familiar and routine, but if we lean on that for too long, we could miss out on how great different can be.
The Taste of Madison and the KEVA Live concert series, both Starion Bank sponsored events, have shifted operations to accommodate the new normal. While shifting these fun, social events has been a challenge each organization has found creative ways to serve volunteers, staff, and event goers with high quality experiences that, while different, are the furthest thing from bad.
Eric Fritz, owner of Keva Sports Center, dreamed of bringing live music events to their outdoor athletic field. After 21 years, that dream is realized with the help of the COVID pause. “We had some time to put our energy and focus in new areas,” explains Jennifer Kratochwill, Marketing Development & Special Events Manager. “It was about getting creative and how we could do some of these new things. It gave us something to look forward to and really think about what we could offer the community.”
LANCO was the first band in the KEVA concert series, and the night was a resounding success. Energy and excitement were the themes of the night and the crowd of 800 created a unique boutique experience. Concert goers of all ages enjoyed the safe, family friendly environment.
A goal of the KEVA Live organizers is to appeal to a wide range of music fans and to that end will be welcoming rock band Everclear on August 21st.
Taste of Madison
On a larger scale, The Taste of Madison, celebrating 39 years of music, food, and giving back, has shaken things up. Traditionally the Taste is held downtown and hosts 250-300 thousand people. Keeping safety, supply chain challenges, and experience in mind, the Taste of Madison will this year be hosted at Breese Stevens Field.
“Emotionally you want to be downtown because it signifies normalcy and that things are going back to where they were,” says Sara Klemme, president of Madison Festivals. “Change is hard and its unknown, but COVID has forced people to look at what they need to change. I think Taste was due for a shake up.”
The not-for-profit event that gives back $64,000 to the city and has a seven million direct spending impact has gotten creative to offer a fun event for both volunteers, local restaurants and, of course, the people that love to attend the event.
“We’ll have three three-hour time periods so that we can control the capacity at each time frame, six total time periods over the weekend, with a max capacity of 30,000,” Sara explains. And of course, excellent food and great music will be the center of the event. “Taste for me this year is a stepping-stone, a way to donate back to the community.” And what a way to ramp up for 40 years next year!
Both Jennifer and Sara are grateful for the support of Starion Bank. “Starion has been fabulous and so supportive of our new venture,” Jennifer says. Sara adds, “Taste hasn’t had a presenting sponsor for years and here’s someone that believes in the event, believes in the mission and believes in the community.”