Music series has slow start

Alisa Boswell

The Yam Music Series, started by the Portales MainStreet Program, has seen a decline in attendance since the first concert in September, according to MainStreet Manager Sandy Van Der Veen.

“The first band had a big fan base and the second play a lot and the third doesn’t have a very big fan base yet,” Van Der Veen said of the decline in crowd size.

Van Der Veen said 60 people attended the first concert with the second concert dropping to half that amount.

She said there was a minimal amount of attendees at the third concert.

“It is discouraging but with every event, it takes time for people to catch on and hear that we have this event every third Tuesday,” Van Der Veen said. “It comes down to word of mouth. You can advertise as much as you want but it all depends mostly on word of mouth.”

For the series fourth concert, which is to be held Dec. 20, Andy Mason will be performing a Christmas program.

Van Der Veen said she feels the audience size will rise again for the next concert because of Mason’s popularity and his “family friendly” music.

“With this one, we’ve handed out fliers to the local schools and of course, we still have businesses who volunteer to stick it up on their marquees and we do e-mail blasts through the chamber,” Van Der Veen said. “For this one, we’ve lowered the price. Andy Mason didn’t want any profit, so we are only charging $2 cover charge this time.”

Van Der Veen said previous concerts have been a $5 cover charge and will continue to be after the Mason concert.

“The deal with previous performers was that they got $3 and the MainStreet got $2, but I’ve been very fortunate this year. I’ve done a lot of performances and I get paid for all of those, so I said, you know why not just do it for free,” said Andy Mason, who makes a living performing concerts worldwide. “It’s an honor for me to be able to be in a position to be able to provide a concert for them for free and give back and I’m happy to do it.”

Van Der Veen said the series will continue year-round with a variety of music artists.

So far, the series has provided country, ska and Christian music with more genres to come. Lined up for the series in the spring is Hiway 84, Mason and Don Thomas and Franklin Smith.

“We might change it to a different night. We’re going to give it a little more time and see but we may change it to a Thursday night or something along those lines,” Van Der Veen said. “I think for the future, it will get bigger once people catch on. ‘Rome was not built in one day.’”