OTTUMWA — The phone call was received by Larry Gawronski, executive director of Bridge View Center in February 2012 — Don Sullivan, a concert promoter with Jam Productions in Chicago, wanted to know about the possibility of a Mumford and Sons annual summer music festival happening in Ottumwa.
In three days, he had assembled a response package to questions on accessibility, conveniences available, RV and general parking, space for the outdoor concert and other information. The return call was made to Sullivan by Ottumwa's city administrator Joe Helfenberger. Sullivan was impressed that the city had rallied so quickly.
But the concert went to Dixon, Ill., that summer. In 2013, the band decided to bypass the Heartland in favor of Oklahoma and Ohio. Now Gawronski is putting on a full-court press to the band and the promoter.
"I decided that a music video was the way to their hearts," Gawronski said. "I set about organizing the details of a music video shoot using on of Mumford and Sons' most famous recordings, 'I Will Wait.' The music and lyrics spoke right to me, but even more, I thought of changing the refrain from 'I will wait' to 'We can't wait,' illustrating our community's want and desire to have them play in Ottumwa."
Gawronski organized the camera operator and editor, created a storyboard and met with community leaders on a Thursday. Three days of shooting video footage followed that next Monday through Wednesday.
"We tried to include as much of the flavor and passion of Ottumwa into the video mix as we could," he said. "Before we knew it, we had Ottumwa High School, Indian Hills Community College, Cardinal Elementary School in Eldon and the American Gothic House on board — we were ready to roll."
Gawronski and his camera operator and editor, Chris Connolly from another VenuWorks building in Texas, ended up shooting 6 1/2 hours of footage, including aerial footage, and then edited it down to a 4 1/2 minute music video.
"When I saw the first cut edit, I cried — it was that moving to me," Gawronski said. "I believe the community did themselves proud, and I can't see why the band wouldn't consider Ottumwa in their next tour routing. They look for places and people that want to see them in their town. We certainly showed that."
The costs related to the shooting and editing of the video were sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, VenuWorks and Bridge View Center.
Three things were accomplished by shooting this music video, Gawronski says. The community now has a fabulous pitch product for Mumford and Sons and they have collected priceless footage that can be used in many applications for convention, meeting, destination, economic development and general recruiting purposes.
"And we talk about coming together as a community for its betterment," Gawronski said. "Well, we accomplished that."
Plans are now to post this video on every possible social media platform — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and websites to name just a few. Everyone is encouraged to share the video with everyone they know.
You can find the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS1-0VcbHww