Annual festival draws more people, more money

8 years 2 weeks 2 days ago Friday, October 01 2010 Oct 1, 2010 Friday, October 01, 2010 9:55:34 PM CDT October 01, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - Music and the smell of barbecue filled the air as people who filled the streets from all over the country arrived on Friday night for Columbia's fourth annual "Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ" festival.

A lot of people headed to the festival think prices at the festival have increased from previous years, but that has not stopped the thousands of people who flowed through the entrance gates. Although the people have not stopped coming back to what has now become a fall tradition, they are still making some changes.

Eric Monroe agrees that he has to start cutting back on spending this year at the festival.

"I need to start cutting back," Monroe said. "Like on food, on CD's. Yeah, last year CD's were $10 to $15, and now they're up to $20. So, I've seen that change."

Festival officials predict this year more than 75,000 people will be attending, an increase from the 55,000 last year. The attendance has gone up, but still isn't as big as it was when tickets were free four years ago.

Steve Sweitzer is one of the festival founders and says the money being generated from the festival does not go to the City, but instead goes to the private company, Thumper Entertainment who funds the event.

"We hope to pay our bills this year and pay off some loans that we've had from last year," Sweitzer said. "We're hoping like anybody else we're trying to get this thing to pay for itself so we can bring it back again for year five."

Festival spokesperson, Kim Foster, says the City will be seeing an influx in revenue because the the increase in people will lead to an increase in spending around town.

"The local hotels are completely booked and some people have even been needing to stay in Jefferson City," Foster said. She was not able to determine how much money is being generated at this time, but everything will be calculated in six weeks.

The price for a one-day admission ticket is $18, but a two-day weekend pass will cost $28.

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