Rhythm & Booms unveils new management team

Rhythm & Booms has announced that it will transition to a new management team for its annual Independence Day Celebration, which is now scheduled for Wednesday, July 3, at Warner Park.

Terry Kelly, president of Madison Fireworks Fund, Inc. and founder of Rhythm & Booms, announced that MFF has, at no charge, transferred the event rights and all accompanying properties of the event to Madison Festivals, Inc., and he also announced several changes designed to avoid neighborhood disruption.

MFI is a 501(c)(3) organization that owns and operates the Taste of Madison and Madison Marathon events.

After 20 years of producing and overseeing Rhythm & Booms, Kelly said it’s time to entrust the event to new leadership. He called MFI “a perfect fit.”

“Both our organizations help build our community around free events and volunteering, we support local businesses, and we provide profits to local charities,” Kelly noted. “It's part of what makes Madison such a great city.”

Kelly will assist MFI in producing the 21st edition of Rhythm and Booms on July 3, and Madison Fireworks Fund will continue to operate as a 501(c)(3) organization under the Madison Festivals, Inc. umbrella.

Rita Kelliher, MFI board president, said her organization would build relationships with the city, sponsors, the public, vendors, and nonprofit partners to ensure the viability of Rhythm & Booms as an event and as a contributor to local charities. Since 1993, over $427,000 in proceeds have been donated by MFF to help benefit children’s charities in the Madison area.

“We are incredibly honored Terry came to us with this opportunity,” Kelliher stated. “We look forward to continuing this very valuable and beloved community event.”

Rhythm & Booms, presented by American Family Insurance, is about 85% funded by corporate sponsorships and contributions, private donations, and support from the city of Madison’s room tax on hotel stays. Many services are also donated by local businesses.

An estimated 200,000 people attended the 2012 annual fireworks show at Warner Park on Madison’s north side, but the event drew complaints from neighbors. To reduce the impact on north side neighborhoods, Kelly said there would be no music stages, carnival, or beer sales this year.

However, the event might be able to welcome the city’s food cart vendors and have plenty of soda, water, and souvenirs for sale. The actions were a result of the decision by the city to limit municipal costs and the impact to Warner Park and the surrounding area.