Wineries In Nelson Concerned Lockn' Festival Will Affect Sales

Posted: Updated: Sep 01, 2014 09:59 AM

The Lockn' festival crew is setting up the concert grounds in Nelson County, getting ready for thousands of musical festival fans who will begin showing up Thursday.

They're expected to arrive by cars, RV's, and buses, traveling along Route 29. Some businesses nearby the festival grounds are changing their strategy this year to accommodate for a loss in customer traffic during last year's Lockn.'

The concerts start Thursday on Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington which is just off Route 29 south of Lovingston.

The road signs are already out warning drivers that starting Wednesday; traffic is expected to pick up. For two vineyards along 29 that backup equals a drop in business. But this year, they'll be working with festival organizers in a new program called "Lockn' Vineyards".

Lovingston Winery sits just a mile down the road from Oak Ridge Farm, where tens of thousands of people will be enjoying Nelson County's biggest music festival. Business manager Stephanie Wright says it couldn't come at a worse time for the winery.

Winery business manager Stephanie Wright said, “Unfortunately, September and October are by far the busiest months for the Virginia wine industry and especially for tasting room sales, and so we did close, are going to be closing this year due to the complete lack of sales we had last year."

Democracy Vineyards, just north of Lovingston, saw the drop in visitors during last year's Lockn'. They only had three sales those days.

GM of Democracy Vineyards James Turpin said, "They either come to Lockn' and they don't really leave the grounds, or the traffic's so bad they're not really willing to come down to this part of 29."

This year, the festival is trying to cater to their concerns. A new program, called Lockn' Vineyards, will sell wine from Lovingston and Democracy, as well as Cardinal Point and Blenheim Vineyards. Wright says they haven't had much time to plan.

"I'm not 100 percent sure how it's all going to operate. We sort of didn't receive an invitation until mid-August so we're kind of waiting to see how this year goes,” said Wright.

But even with the extra sales, she expects Lovingston will be losing money.

“The same retail sales we might have been making in our tasting room we're not going to be seeing, we'll see wholesale sales instead at the festival,” said Wright.

Lovingston Winery will be closed during the festival so its staff can work at the concert. Staff at Democracy Vineyards say they will stay open, but expect almost all of their revenue will come from the festival site.

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