LIVERMORE -- With the future of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center and Bankhead Theater in doubt, downtown Livermore's free outdoor summer concert series likely won't return in 2014, barring a successful crowd-funding campaign.
Even with more than a dozen acts from previous years offering to play for free to keep "Tuesday Tunes" and "Friday Nights LIVE!" going, organizers say they'll need donations of at least $10,000 to ensure the events continue.
"At this point, none of us really want to commit to saying it's canceled," said Arthur Barinque, the center's event and stage manager. "If the community puts their two cents in, it could be successful. ... It's not that we couldn't fund it, but because the banks are scrutinizing what we do, giving free concerts doesn't look good."
The concert series has been staged on the green outside the Bankhead Theater since 2011. Attendance has grown every year from an average of 200 in 2011 to a peak of 870 last summer.
"It's just a good vibe," said musician Robert Sakogawa, who has played the free concerts for the past two years with his band, Audio Illusion. "It's probably one of the things we looked forward to most during the summer."
Sakogawa's band has offered to play this year's event for free, if it will help the show go on. In addition, he said, organizers could turn to crowd-funding sources like GoFundMe or Kickstarter to raise money for the event.
"The word has gotten around, and its going to be incumbent on the community to make it happen," he said.
Barinque said even if he could bring the concert series back this summer, it would only be a "teaser" and likely wouldn't happen until August. A change to police enforcement of open container laws and opposition from some downtown businesses -- who say the Friday crowds are more of a hindrance than a help -- are also complicating matters, he added.
Barinque said he intends to hold a town-hall meeting later this month to gauge interest and take public input. Some form of crowd-funding source, he said, could be set up in the coming days.
"It's not a death, but it came to a screeching halt," Barinque said. "We're working on it. There's still hope."
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.