The Overture Center is ending its sponsorship of several popular East Side festivals this year, including Fete de Marquette.
Festival organizers say the shows will go on, but are looking for additional support. The Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center runs Fete de Marquette, and is also involved in Orton Park Fest and Waterfront.
Wil-Mar Center Executive Director Gary Kallas says this year marks a change in their partnership with the Overture Center.
“We’ve enjoyed support from Overture for, gosh, five, six, seven years now,” Kallas said. “We delivered what we said we would and Overture delivered what they said they would … it was a great partnership and they just decided they needed to look in a different direction.”
Overture Center Executive Director Sandra Gajic says they’ll still sponsor kids programming at the Fete.
She says the change has to do with the Overture Center’s own status as a nonprofit.
“Because we are a nonprofit organization that is seeking and relies heavily on sponsors and donors, it wouldn’t be fair for us to become then a cash sponsor to another nonprofit organization” Gajic said.
Gajic was unclear about the amount the of sponsorship in past years, but estimated it was around $10,000.
Kallas said after meeting with Gajic in December, they’ve had to fill in the gaps. But that festival goers should still expect the same caliber of programming they’re used to from Fete de Marquette and the other festivals.
“It terms of the quality of the Fete de Marquette production, it will still be there,” Kallas said. “We believe Fete de Marquette 2019 will still wow the masses, it’ll still make folks feel like ‘wow, this is a significant city of Madison summer time event. Has it caused us to scramble a little bit to maintain the quality that people have come to expect from Fete de Marquette? Yes. Yes it has.”
Kallas says they’ll release the full programming list for Fete de Marquette early next month. Fete is scheduled for July 11-14.