By MIKE WEST/ Courier Editor
The courtroom at the Cannon County Courthouse was crowded with visitors for Tuesday night's (Aug. 13) County Commission meeting.
Many of the guests were citizens attending to protest plans for a music festival on property adjacent to Short Mountain Distillery. Distillery officials Billy Kaufman and John Whittenmore were on hand to address concerns about plans for the so-called MIM Fest.
"There was talk of 10,000 to 15,000 people attending. We decided to reduce it to a maximum of 4,500," Kaufman said. "There's plenty of resources for that.
"We've changed the nature of the event. Ticket prices have been reduced. Some of the bigger bands have been eliminated," Kaufman said, adding that the concert event will be limited to one day instead of three.
"We want to keep our good relations with the community. We appreciate our neighbors," Whittenmore said.
"How are you going to keep people (an overflow crowd) from coming?" asked Commission Chairman Bob Stoeztel. "I talked to someone Saturday from Virginia and they plan on coming back for the event."
"We will be pre-selling tickets for a one-day concert that's more of a local event," Whittenmore explained. Nationally known bands have been eliminated. "It's an exciting event for us and hopefully everybody is going to continue to support us like they have."
"This is not going to be a Bonnaroo," Kaufman added. "This is 5 percent of the people and probably 3 or 4 percent. This is going to be a completely different animal."
Security will be in place to keep weapons and drugs out.
"Basically this has been an ongoing discussion. We have talked to neighbors who have concerns and we have received phone calls, so we decided to make sure it is something we can maintain," Whittenmore said.
Due to infrastructure concerns and the ability to handle that number of people coming down, the decision was made to limit the crowd size, he continued.
Steps will be taken to make sure security is adequate including hiring off-duty police officers and that sort of thing, Whittenmore said.