The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 4, 2012

Organizers hope to fund Pittsburg fireworks show with 12-hour concert

PITTSBURG, Kan. — For the third year in a row, a grassroots effort to save the annual Pittsburg Fourth of July fireworks show will involve a 12-hour concert featuring bands from across the region.

The Big Bang Rockfest kicks off just after noon Saturday at Club 505, a Pittsburg nightclub at 505 N. Broadway, and wraps up in the wee hours of the morning Sunday. All proceeds from tickets, which are $5 at the door, go to fireworks fundraising efforts.

So far this year, the fireworks fund has raised $8,400, according to Cathy White, director of the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas.

Kim Vogel, director of Pittsburg Parks and Recreation, said that whatever is raised by mid-May will determine the length and complexity of the show.

Four years ago, generating funds for the show became the community’s responsibility when city coffers were stretched thin. Individuals and businesses came through, raising enough for the annual $20,000, nearly 30-minute display. Subsequent years saw contributions come in just in the nick of time, including several thousand dollars generated during the past two years by Big Bang Rockfest concerts.

“This year, even more so than the past two years, it’s even more important,” said Rockfest co-founder Jon Bartlow of the annual concert. He also is a saxophone player and singer with the rock band Area 51. “We had nothing in reserves coming into this year.”

Bartlow said Rockfest is pulled off with the help of volunteers and the generosity of local musicians.

“They’re really some of the most talented musicians in a small geographic area that you can get, and for $5, it’s a bargain,” he said.

Donations also are being accepted online at at www.southeastkansas.org, or they can be mailed to the Foundation at 100 S Broadway, Suite 100, P.O. Box 1448, Pittsburg, Kan., 66762.

“If you took every individual or family who goes out to Lincoln Park to watch the fireworks and they each donated $5 or $10, that would be huge,” said Bartlow.

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