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Historic pavilion: A series of concerts is being held on Sundays and holidays at the Newlands Pavilion at Macdonald Park. Organizer Bob MacKenzie hopes to raise enough funds for the ongoing maintenance of the pavilion.

Free concert series to run at Newlands Pavilion this summer

June 19, 2001

A Kingston man is trying to raise money for a series of free summer concerts at Newlands Pavilion at Macdonald Park.

He'd also like to put aside some funds to maintain the historic bandstand.

Bob MacKenzie says he was surprised at the effects of vandalism and disrepair on the bandstand. "There's about 12 feet of railing ripped out and spindles missing from the top of the structure," says MacKenzie. "Plus, it really needs a coat of paint."

The city has given the green light for repair work, and a carpenter is replacing a support and railing.

MacKenzie has approached the corporate sector in his quest to raise about $25,000 -- to pay musician scale, provide a sound system and set aside some funds for repairs. It would take about $15,000 to pay for the summer concerts alone, he says.

MacKenzie has 13 concerts lined up. They run on civic holidays and Sundays. The first concert is July 1.

Acts range from flamenco-classical guitarist Jim Graham, the Music Vets big band and a folk musician from North Carolina.

"It would be nice to see the building used for what it was originally intended for," adds Mackenzie.

Built in 1896 by William Newlands, the structure was restored in 1979 by architect Lily Inglis.

"Newlands has enjoyed a state of benign neglect," over the last two decades, MacKenzie points out.

Some money has been donated but MacKenzie is optimistic about further donations.

"Feedback has been positive," he says. "Everyone would like to see free concerts there this summer."

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