Scottville Clown Band asks fans for a little help.

February 28, 2021

Scottville Clown Band in downtown Ludington. File Photo by Todd Reed.

Scottville Clown Band asks fans for a little help.

SCOTTVILLE — Last year was a difficult year for many organizations. The Scottville Clown Band was no exception. Since 1903 the Scottville Clown Band has entertained millions of people at Michigan festivals. The band, made up of over 200 musicians who live all across the state and beyond, also has given over $500,000 in scholarships to performing arts students over the last 60 years. For the first time since World War II, the band did not play, breaking 72 years of consistent annual performances. 

The lack of performances has meant a major reduction in the band’s income, causing a strain on some of the organization’s expenses such as payments of its bus, along with insurance and other operating expenses. 

The Clown Band in Manistee on Fourth of July.

While 2021 looks more optimistic and the band has already book performances for the spring, summer, and fall, there are no guarantees those festivals will happen. The number of performances booked for the season are currently down about 50% so far. 

“Typically, we have the majority of our performances booked by the end of January,” said band President Jim Lindenau of Ludington. “This year, many of our regular performances haven’t even made requests yet. We rely on those performances to cover our expenses and also to support youth performing artists.” 

In 2015, the band purchased a new custom built bus to move its members across the state to its various performances. The bus is also utilized during parades to transport members. It also serves as a place for the older members to take a break on a hot summer day. 

“The Clown Band has always taken pride in being financially solvent,” said Treasurer Rob Alway of Scottville. “When we purchased the bus in 2015 we made a down payment of nearly 40%. In 2019 we actually re-financed the bus to increase our monthly payments so we could pay it off sooner. At the beginning of this year, we had to drop our principal payments down to interest only to help reserve the band’s fund balance.”

The members of the band are hoping its fans will help offset some of its expenses this year to assure it will continue its legacy. 

“The Scottville Clown Band is a unique entity,” Lindenau said. “There are other clown bands around the country, but nothing quite like us. We’ve been bringing joy to people for almost 120 years. We are asking that our fans consider making a modest donation to help us get through this year so we can continue the band’s legacy for another 100 years.”

The Scottville Clown Band is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. 

Donations may be sent to Scottville Clown Band, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454; Paypal: [email protected]; Venmo: @ClownBand. 

Scottville Merchants’ Band, 1910, predecessor to Scottville Clown Band.

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