"It's my understanding that the bourbon festival office is autonomous from Bardstown tourism. If the venue changes, the staff would follow along."
While technically true it is, as a practical matter, a Bardstown event. Many of its problems are a function of the way politics work in a small town. Everybody knows everybody else, everybody is related, etc.
The only way the festival could "move" would be if a competing entity set up a competing event and won away distiller financial support. The festival probably could not and would not continue without distiller money. A move is unlikely to happen unless the Bardstown group self-destructs, a real possibility.
What I see is, in effect, three different festivals. One is the Bardstown community festival that has little or nothing to do with bourbon, another is the series of events -- primarily for press and the trade -- put on by the distilleries, another is the museum and its events -- the heritage panel and auction. In many ways, the three are in conflict with each other.
I do think the official planners are giving insufficient consideration to out-of-towners in general, in favor of putting on a party for themselves and their neighbors. Here are some simple but, I think, telling examples. Where are the banners all over town that say "Welcome Bourbon Festival"? There wasn't even a sign or banner at the Spaulding Hall grounds welcoming people to the festival. Similarly, there were signs at the parking lot telling you who was sponsoring the parking, but no sign that said "festival parking." The locals, of course, know where to park. The out-of-towners? Who cares?
<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>