Group woos Sierra Starlight Amphitheatre to stay in valley
Genoa doesn’t like music, but Gardnerville does.
The Gardnerville Business Association wants to bring a concert series that was kicked out of Genoa to the historic Dangberg Home Ranch.
GBA President Anet Sewell, owner of Netti’s Creations in Gardnerville, approached Sierra Starlight Amphitheatre promoters this week with the idea.
Sewell, Sierra Starlight Amphitheatre promoter John Procaccini and Gardnerville Town Manager Jim Park toured the Dangberg Home Ranch property Wednesday to get a firsthand look at the site.
The concert series lasted just one summer at Genoa’s Mormon Station State Park. The Genoa Town Board, citing noise complaints, pulled the plug Dec. 10.
“Genoa just didn’t get it,” Procaccini said. “In our opinion, they blew it.”
“We started in Douglas County for one reason … it’s a beautiful place,” Procaccini said. “Carson Valley could use an upscale event and they (business association) are working with us in keeping it there.”
South Lake Tahoe schoolteacher Bob Anderson, who went to four of the concerts, was disappointed Genoa pulled out.
“The venue was fabulous, the atmosphere terrific, the weather was great and the acts were way above par,” he said. “I’d prefer they keep the Genoa venue, but I’d look into (a series in Gardnerville) for sure.”
Sewell said the concert series is a quality, upscale, top-dollar, open-air theater that will bring money to the county’s business community.
“They have a certain clientele and quality event,” said Dan Holler, the Douglas County manager. “This is not a cow-pasture concert. Mormon Station met the outdoor ambiance, but unfortunately that didn’t work out.
“We are very willing to sit down and work with them on this.”
The Dangberg Home Ranch was headquarters to Minden’s founding family. While there is litigation pending regarding the personal property at the site, the county has been deeded the real property and will soon take ownership with plans to establish a museum.
Located west of Minden near Highway 88, the property is 34 acres of defunct ranchland with several out buildings, including an old barn built with wooden pegs, a slaughterhouse and hide house and quarters for the hired hands, who helped manage the ranch. The buildings are in disarray and in need of cleanup and work. The property is littered with wood and overgrown plants.
Sewell said the business community needs to step up and take responsibility to get a suitable venue in place to house the concerts.
She wants volunteers to roll up their sleeves and start cleaning up the property or donate services, equipment or money.
“I see beyond the controversy,” she said. “I don’t want ideas. I want offers of responsibility.”
Procaccini said he has been wooed by many areas to host the series, including Carson City.
“They have been courting us a little bit,” he said. “There are positives and negatives about both places.
“It is hard to say. I hope we can satisfy both communities.”
Sewell said the concert promoters invested $160,000 in the Genoa concerts and saw little or no profit.
“If we keep it here, it is an investment,” she said. “We need to take responsibility the first year and in the following years we will get a percentage of the net (profits).”
Sewell said the GBA voted unanimously to take on this task.
“The GBA helps in the redevelopment of downtown Gardnerville,” she said. “We want to bring destination events. We can grow our businesses together.”
There are concerns about hosting the series at the Dangberg property.
Holler said a secured seating area is needed, along with adequate parking and access off Highway 88. Still, he can see the Home Ranch as being the best place for Sierra Starlight.
“It is a real opportunity to build a type of outdoor theater without destroying the integrity of the ranch,” he said.
In order to secure acts for summer concerts, Procaccini said he needs to start booking acts by March 1. Sewell said that gives her roughly three weeks to hear from business owners and residents willing to help keep the concert series in the Valley.
“It will attract a 40-plus crowd, responsible music lovers who will bring money into the community,” she said. “Tourism only takes us so far.”
To reach Sewell, call (775) 782-2473.
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