Festival raises $30,000

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Festival of Music didn’t really need the $9. They only had to have the $30,000 that came before it.

But one way or the other, the festivals’ organizers have turned $30,009 into $60,009.

Last week the group learned that the Richard H. Dreihaus Foundation would donate $30,000 if they could raise a matching $30,000. By Monday’s 6 p.m. deadline, they had succeeded.

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“We have made the goal and may even be a little over,” said Paris Winn, chairman of the board for the Natchez Festival of Music. “It’s a done deal.”

Approximately 100 people donated money to the festival. The donations ranged from $10 to several thousand dollars, Winn said.

“I’m so overwhelmed,” Winn said. “It’s hard to believe we’re going to have $60,000 in four days.”

The money is going to be a major help to the festival, Winn said.

“Because we won’t always be chasing the dollar we can do a lot more in-depth planning.”

A large part of the money and planning will go into improving the facilities and having better stages and lighting.

Work has already begun on next year’s festival and everything should be finalized by August, Winn said.

“We’ve already got things in the works.”

Dreihaus, a wealthy investment banker from Chicago, has given money to the festival on several occasions although his donations usually stay in the Chicago area.

“He has a great love of Natchez,” Winn said. “We’re fortunate that he likes the arts we present.”