City Council to discuss Roots 'N' Blues ticketing at next meeting

Friday, July 3, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
GRAPHIC | Proposed street closures for the 2009 Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival.

COLUMBIA — People will have to pay to get close to some of the bigger stages at this year's Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival under a plan presented to the Columbia City Council.

The council will review the plan before and during its regular meeting on Monday night. The plan submitted by Thumper Entertainment sets prices for both advance tickets and those purchased on the weekend of the festival, which is scheduled for Sept. 25-27.

Advance one-day passes would cost $10 and weekend passes $15. Passes bought at the time of the festival will be sold only on Friday and would cost $15 for a day pass and $25 for a weekend pass.

Tickets will be sold at the Blue Note box office, Thumper Entertainment, Boone County National Bank, Break Time convenience stories and all Ticketmaster outlets, according to the report to the council.

The plan also provides a proposed layout for the festival and outlines proposed street closures and alcohol policies.

The three stages would be at Flat Branch Park, Peace Park and at Seventh and Locust streets. Access to the Flat Branch Park stage would be free, and the others will be within a fenced-in "ticketed" area that includes all of Peace Park and Seventh Street between Elm and Cherry streets.

There would be two alcohol stands, one at Elm Street near the stage and another on a private parking lot north of Locust Street. Only beer, wine and Southern Comfort frozen drinks will be served.

Thumper is asking that the city waive its open-container ordinance in the alcohol-permitted areas. They propose restricting sales to two alcoholic beverages at a time.

This would be the first time the festival charges admission fees for access to the stages. The event last year drew an estimated 120,000 to 130,000 people, according to previous Missourian reports, but Thumper came out of the deal owing the city $38,000.  

Watkins said that the council remains concerned about being reimbursed for last year's festival. He said there have been talks between Thumper and  city staff, but there is nothing to show for it yet.

The report being presented to the council on Monday outlines $40,648 worth of expenses the city would incur to staff this year's festival with firefighters, police and other emergency workers. Other costs to the city, which are unspecified, include hand-washing stations, loss of revenue from parking meters and the placement and removal of street barriers.

Those expenses, as well as the $38,000 debt from last year's event, will be included in an operations agreement that will come to a vote in the council. Watkins said the goal is to have all the issues in writing by the July 20 council meeting.

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Charles Dudley Jr July 3, 2009 | 4:58 a.m.

The fenced off areas will not stop those just wanting to listen to the music with out having to pay unless they turn down the sound systems which is highly doubtful. It would be interesting for a reporter to count or guesstimate the amount of people outside of the fenced areas compared to inside. Thumper and the City just might find it interesting indeed.

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