Fox & Goose on R Street slowly fills up on a Monday and from one corner, music from the band Spangler.
Just a few months ago what might have been dashed were Spangler’s dreams of landing its debut spot on the Sacramento Music Festival’s revamped line-up.
“I think it’s what everybody wants to do. I mean, they work towards it. It’s an opportunity,” vocalist Helen Spangler said.
An opportunity for all of the acts was put in jeopardy by some sour chords struck by the festival’s financial troubles.
Spangler and other stage-worthy wannabes were hoping to play in a festival that turned out to be $80,000 in the hole.
Last August, the board behind the event, the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, posted an on-line appeal for cash to pay the piper.
Board members were tight-lipped about the source of the problems at the time and so was the festival’s executive director when FOX40’s cameras stopped by her home.
“When you’re facing a financial challenge, it helps if you tighten the screws a little bit. There’s no more paid staff, used to have two positions. Everything’s being done by a volunteer group. There is no office any more. Everything’s done out of a separate location so they’re not paying rent,” Mike Testa, of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, told FOX40.
The bureau markets the music festival and recruits the bands for it.
The staff and building changes, along with pledges from the festival faithful helped shore up the event and cut $150,000 worth of expenses – guaranteeing a venue for bands like Spangler to share billing and crowds with industry icons like Tower of Power and Everclear.
This marks the third year of a campaign to stretch the festival beyond it’s jazz roots.
“There’s about a 16 percent increase in revenues as of this morning and we’re hearing a much more positive excitement for the festival,” said Testa.
“We’re like kids in a candy store. They said you don’t have to bring your amps we’re providing all that stuff. And we were like, ‘Oh, my gosh,'” guitarist Tim Spangler said.
With the financials finally in sync, the focus can be on what it was meant to be all along – the music.
“If you’re wired that way, it’s just something you have to do,” Spangler percussionist Chris Reilly said.
Catch Spangler in Old Sac at noon on May 23 during the Sacramento Music Festival.
They’ll be playing at Turntable on the Green.