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  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Re: Site of Future Festivals

    "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>

  2. #12

    Re: Site of Future Festivals

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about the three different festivals. And there really is something "in the air" during the festival that leaves you with the feeling that you've "crashed" someone else's party. There might be some justification, too. Having grown up in a small town in semi-rural California (yes, most of California is NOT Hollywood or San Francisco), I can certainly relate to how the Bardstown citizens might feel. We used to celebrate "Ranchero Days", which was really just the local society folks congratulating each other and pretending they were all descendants of Spanish colonists (many really were, of course). But it was a colorful celebration that attracted the movie set and by the time I was old enough to remember it had turned into some kind of invasion of rude people from New York who had no time for us nobodies.

    Celebrating the bourbon festival at the blue-collar level, as we usually do, we don't really notice much of that. But if you attend the more dressy affairs (and I really do recommend that everyone try to make the black tie gala one year -- you probably won't do it again, but it's really worth it once) you can readily see the same kind of attitude. Folks like Julian Van Winkle and Lincoln Henderson, who are comfortable in any venue, probably don't even notice it, but the less-sophisticated (and I include myself in that number) are very aware.

    I think the Kentucky Bourbon Festival started out quite different from what it's become. This was the fourth that Linda and I have seen, just under half of them. I imagine Boone has seen 'em all; maybe she can give us outsiders a native's view of what the festival is all about, how it was when it started, and what it's future might be...

    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey>http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey</A>



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