published Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Vendors feeling the love at Bonnaroo

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    Staff Photo by Gillian Bolsover Cheri Perry holds her 5-month-old daughter Hattie at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Saturday. The family came to the festival from Knoxville.

On day three at Bonnaroo, business has been brisk for vendor Trevor Ross, owner of Earthtone Instruments, an Orlando-based business that sells hand-made flutes, walking sticks and porcelin whistles.

"I get asked about the economy and my business by family and friends, and I tell them I'm not participating in the recession. Bonnaroo is really good to me."

The key, he said, is to plan and prepare.

"I add something new every year. This year it is Ocarinas (a porcelin whistle the size of a plum). I've sold a bunch of them."

Mr. Ross has sold his wares at every Bonnaroo and said sales are up over the first two and a half days.

"I left at 3 a.m. last night and was torn about leaving because business was so good."

Festival co-organizer Ashley Capps said Saturday that early indications are that this Bonnaroo is on the way to a profitable year. Sales of admission tickets topped 75,000 on Friday and more were being sold Saturday.

"I haven't been tracking the numbers closely, but it appears we are looking at a huge year," he said. "Everything is up."

Part of the last-minute movement in ticket sales could be attributed to the attention of Jimmy Buffett, who played Saturday. Mr. Capps said signing Mr. Buffett earlier might have increased ticket demand even more, but he was happy to have him play.

"Jimmy wanted to play," Mr. Capps said. "That was a great surprise, and we love surprises. It's part of what makes Bonnaroo Bonnaroo."

The head Parrothead and hero to the sloppy sandal set volunteered to play this year and spent the night to check out other bands.

"I went to sleep listening to Phish," he said.

Inside the I Believe In Faeries tent, Lori Ann Luger was selling faerie wings, elf ears and glitter. She also said business was brisk and up from last year.

"People still need to have fun," she said. "They like to shop regardless."

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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