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Waynesville Summer Jam to return next summer

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 19, 2008) — Three downtown business owners plan to continue a downtown community music festival next year.

Speaking Thursday night at the Waynesville City Council meeting, Steve Kneeland of Caffe Italia told council members that he’s working with Route 66 Music and the new Paradox Studios to bring an afternoon of local musicians to the courthouse square. Begun this year as “Summer Jam,” the renamed event is planned for May 23 next year from noon to 9 p.m.

“We have made some adjustments,” Kneeland said. “We are going to use all local bands, all local music groups from the Pulaski County area instead of reaching outside to Rolla or Springfield. Everything will be local talent.”

Other changes include a new name: “Route 66 Summer Jam.” Intended to capitalize on the venue’s location next to Historic Route 66, it’ll also highlight the role of the Route 66 Music business owned by Marcus Carter. Kneeland said he’ll be coordinating vendors, Carter will be coordinating the music, and the Paradox Studio owner will coordinate marketing.

“We hope to make it bigger and better than we did last year,” Kneeland said.

Plans are also underway to avoid conflicting with the Buckhorn Blast motorcycle and music event, he said.

Councilwoman Luge Hardman, who chairs the Waynesville Economic Development Committee and has been a supporter of the Summer Jam and similar events, noted that the money made by the Summer Jam goes back to community organizations.

Last year’s donation recipients were the Waynesville Animal Shelter, the Pulaski County Humane Society, and a local VFW and museum. This year’s main recipient may be the Pulaski Fine Arts Association, though details haven’t yet been worked out.

“This year, I haven’t really talked in depth with (Bob) Hooper over at the theater, but they’ve discussed many times that they want to reface that theater,” Kneeland said. “We’re looking at making the funds go to them so they can re-face that theater and make it more of a marquee and bring that old style back to downtown Waynesville.”

As one of the few business owners who is open in the evenings, Kneeland also told city council members that he’d like to see a manual crosswalk button installed at the corner of Historic Route 66 and Benton Street. The traffic light is currently controlled by vehicle traffic, he said, and traffic won’t stop on Historic Route 66 unless a large car is waiting on Benton Street.

That creates problems for patrons of the Pulaski County Fine Arts Association or Caffe Italia who want to cross Historic Route 66, Kneeland said.

“Downtown Waynesville, as you know, we’re getting a lot more traffic coming down,” Kneeland said. “The lights won’t change for pedestrians and I’d like to see if there’s something we can do.”

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