The Lynchburg Music Fest is seeking to offer the sale of alcohol – liquor and wine, but not beer — on the festival grounds.
A festival permit has been tentatively approved by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) for the festival on Aug. 23-24. TABC is the legal entity that controls all alcohol sales, except for beer, within the state of Tennessee. The TABC festival permit allows Lynchburg Music Fest to serve non-beer alcoholic beverages — liquor and wine — inside the secured and controlled event location during the festival only.
Beer will not be permitted at the festival, as that is controlled by Metropolitan Lynchburg/ Moore County.
“Lynchburg Music Fest is located in a historically dry county, so we’re very excited that we’ve been granted a festival permit for the occasion,” said Jonny Hill, founder of Lynchburg Music Fest and owner/CEO of Igniter Productions. “Lynchburg has a rich history of whiskey distilleries, and this permit allows our festival-goers to truly experience the meaning behind our tagline, ‘Where Music Meets Whiskey’.”
Tennessee law authorizes a for-profit festival operator, or a third-party vendor who has contracted with the festival operator, to obtain a liquor-by-the-drink license for sales of alcohol for consumption on the premises of a festival that lasts up to seven days.
It was not Hill’s original intent, both he and Mayor Bonnie Lewis said, to obtain a liquor license. Hill was not even aware such a license existed until June, he said.
“Being born and raised in Lynchburg, I fully understand the dry county laws, so we only had the VIP package area where it could be served.”
But, when approached by the TABC and informed of the possibility of a festival permit, it seemed that to avoid confusion and for security issues, since the VIPs and the artists would be allowed to have alcohol in certain areas, “It would be in everyone’s best interests that we move forward with the festival permit,” Hill said.
Hill wanted to make it clear that not everyone will have access to the areas where liquor can be purchased.
“There will be three serving areas in the entire park,” Hill said, “the VIP area and two other areas. They will be a fenced and screened off area with scrim, so actually others won’t be able to even see it. And, even if you’re a VIP, you can’t bring anyone underage in there. To even get into the area where it is served, you have to have qualified wristband credentials, and you will have been ID’d, so there won’t be people walking around the park drinking.
“And,” he added, “there will also be a limit of how many drinks you can purchase.”
In the event someone becomes intoxicated, “Their wristbands will be cut, and they will lose their festival privileges entirely,” he noted.
“Being able to do this now creates a far greater financial impact for Lynchburg, as well.”
Wiseman Park upgrades
Meanwhile, work on Wiseman Park, site of the music fest, is almost finished. The park, thanks to a $35,000 donation from Igniter Productions, has undergone extensive renovations, including a completely new baseball field, refurbished playground equipment, landscaping, building improvements, graveled walkways and infrastructure additions.
Mayor Lewis said she is pleased with what’s happening at Wiseman Park.
Hill had previously promised to donate $25,000 for the renovations.
“He has far exceeded his goal of his original commitment of $25,000,” Lewis said. “The removal of existing old buildings and the renovation of others, plus fencing, landscaping, pressure-washing, painting … it’s all going to be done before the festival. It’s going to be a unique event for Lynchburg, and it means a lot to have this renovated and upgraded.”
“The renovation of Wiseman Park is not just for the Lynchburg Music Fest,” Hill said. “We see this as an important investment in the community and another way for us to give back to Lynchburg. We’re very pleased to support the improvement of the park, and we’re excited about the positive impact it will have on the community for years to come.”
“What it means for the future of the park is a whole lot of the infrastructure that was destroyed by the flood has been repaired,” Lewis said, “which puts us way in advance of creating new and better things in the park, and I definitely have plans.”
The two-day music festival will take place Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23-24, in downtown Lynchburg with Easton Corbin to headline night one and Jamey Johnson to headline night two.