July 29, 2013
Tens of thousands of music lovers are expected to pack into Nelson County for the new Interlocken Music Festival.
While crews get the grounds of Arrington's Oak Ridge Farm ready to host the four-day event, businesses in the area are preparing to get some green out of it, too.
Some fans of Zac Brown, Warren Haynes, Gov't Mule and other artists will camp out at the event. Many others will filter outside the gates and into town, filling hotels and restaurants.
"I think it's going to be humongous. Everybody is pretty much panicking. It's a small town and it's just going to bring a lot of people here," said local business owner Sal Mannino.
Village Inn, which is just down the road from the farm, had one car in its parking lot Monday, but that won't be the case come September. It's just one of dozens of hotels and motels in the area already booked for the bash.
"I didn't believe it until I actually talked to the owners at Oak Ridge, and I was like, is this real? They were like, it's as real as it gets. It's coming," said Mannino, who owns Vito's Pizza & Italian Restaurant.
Mannino has been tossing dough at the restaurant for 15 years. The upcoming music festival won't be the first time an event brings in even more dough for him.
"They've done it before with Camp Jeep years ago, and it was big," said Mannino. "We're expecting probably double this time."
So the pizza shop owner is doubling his staff, opening the doors early to serve breakfast and preparing to dish out pies to a whole new crowd of faces. The visitors may be around for less than a week, but Mannino says the business boom will leave an impact.
"It's not just about making money. Business is like a marriage. You have to treat it good and it'll treat you back good," he said. "That's my philosophy."
Mannino says he hopes it's a long-term relationship with the music festival. He says there has already been talk of bringing it back to Nelson County every year, something he says the business community would like to bank on.
The Interlocken Music Festival is September 5th to the 8th. For more information about the event, click HERE.