File photo courtesy Fox Cities Experience on Facebook

The following letter was submitted to Kaukauna Community News from event organizers following the cancellation of the annual Electric City Experience music festival. It is publish here in its entirety, unedited:

Dear Editor,

Organizers of Electric City Experience had every intention to simply and amicably bid farewell to Kaukauna with warm thanks for all the support through the years. Unfortunately, we feel our decision to move has been mischaracterized and we think it’s important to set the record straight on how it transpired.

Electric City Experience faced rising costs as a result of inflation and lost several key sponsorships. Fundraising had also become increasingly difficult. Key members of Kaukauna leadership were made aware of our difficult situation in mid-March as well as our contingency plan, which entailed a move to Menasha.

In early April, festival organizers met with city officials and devised a plan in which the city would provide a financial backstop, buying additional time to raise remaining funds.

This plan was supposed to be introduced at the city’s April 15 committee meetings. Ultimately, it wasn’t. When inquiring about it through text messages, Mayor Tony Penterman said the city already provided $10,000 and asked what more was needed in a tone we read as condescending.

At this time, we were already late in announcing the festival and could not afford to lose additional time. The text, meanwhile, was the last we heard from anyone with the city until May 2.

Over this period, we began to seriously explore Menasha as a venue.

Even while we made headway on Menasha plans, we agreed to consider an effort from Kaukauna to help us meet expenses. The Common Council approved an additional $6,000 on May 7, but they did so in closed session while we waited on the other side of the glass door.

They did not ask questions or seek any further input from our team.

After deliberating our options, we made a difficult decision to continue forth on the Menasha project. We believe our new Fox Cities Experience branding and a more centralized Fox Valley location will open new fundraising avenues and help us keep the event sustainable.

Organizers of Electric City Experience did not make a snap decision to move the 2024 event. To the contrary, we continued to explore ways to make the event happen in Kaukauna well beyond the last minute. Furthermore, we did not surprise city officials. We were transparent about our fundraising issues as well as our contingency plans going back to March.

All of this said, we are extremely grateful for the tremendous support of the city through the years. We also want to extend our thanks to all our generous sponsors as well as everyone who attended Electric City Experience. We appreciate all of you.


The Fox Cities Experience team

By staff