Businesses Say Lockn' Festival Hurt Their Bottom Line

By: Suzanne Wilson Email
By: Suzanne Wilson Email

September 9, 2013

The Lockn' Festival in Nelson County has come and gone.

Event organizers said it was a huge success, but local businesses, on the other hand, are telling a different story.

"Everything went really well. We had a great event," said
Dave Frey, the event promoter for Lockn' Festival. "It was run safely. We had a really great crew and, in my opinion, a really great, great show."

Not everyone in the county agrees with Frey. Saunders Landscapes is located right across the street from the festival site at Oak Ridge. The company dealt with the traffic and constraints in the area first hand.

"It essentially shut the landscaping side of things down," said Joanie Saunders, co-owner of Saunders Landscapes. "We receive tractor-trailer deliveries weekly and they couldn't get in here. We had to cancel a tree delivery on Thursday and a landscape supply delivery on Friday."

Lockn' officials, from inside the event gates, said that the festival was benefiting local businesses. But, Vito's Italian Restaurant is less than three miles away from the festival site. They said business they were expecting this weekend never showed up.

"I know from the people we employed, everyone was eating at Vito's everyday at lunch," said Frey.

"This is a busy restaurant," said Sal Manninio, owner of Vito's Italian Restaurant. "I expected it to be triple the business with the Lockn' but instead it did not help us at all."

"All of the businesses I've talked to– the restaurants, the breweries, the wineries– really didn't have any business," said Saunders.

There is talk that the Lockn' Festival could come back again next year. Locals are saying they want organizers to put a little more emphasis on including them in the plan if it does return.

"I'd be willing to work with the people about how they can make it more convenient for us locally, if it's to our benefit as a county," Saunders said. "Right now, I'm not seeing that and it was really, really frustrating to live here and be a part of it."

"It didn't really work but I'm not saying I don't want them back," Mannino said. "I think different planning would have helped the community a little better."

Nelson County and festival officials are working together to release information on the economic impacts and overall outcome of the event Wednesday.

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