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Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion showcases new food court

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:59:32 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 20 2013 11:00:00 PM CDT

There is mixed reaction from vendors to BRRR's new food court, but local businesses say the change is fair way to do things.

BRISTOL, Tenn./Va. -

Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion concert-goers have the chance to try food at the local restaurants and visiting vendors.

This year food vendors have been given their own food court on Lee Street; last year they were on State Street.

Festival organizers say they had to move food vendors to prevent gridlock on State Street, which allows foot traffic to move smoothly and allows access to emergency vehicles.

They've been busy setting up since Friday morning.

"I'm not sure what to think yet, it's a new setup," said Neal Collins.  Collins is a vendor who has been coming to Rhythm and Roots Reunion for eight years with his vegetarian stand. "I guess there's a new stage down there where there might be a lot of traffic coming back and forth, but ya know, on State Street for sure we get all the traffic."

Collins said people tend to buy food impulsively at festivals. "People who buy food, they see it, they smell it and think, 'oh hey, I'll buy this."

Collins said the move from State Street could mean fewer sales. He's not sure there will be as much traffic on Lee Street, even though it's between two large stages.
"If they don't happen to walk by, it might be less busy for us," said Collins.

Meanwhile, State Street businesses said the move opens up their storefronts, which will hopefully mean more customers.

"I'm happy that they're attempting to make a change for the better for the restaurants on State Street," said Amy Booher who owns State Line Bar and Grill.

Booher said this year they might have more business since there won't be other options staring customers in the face. "We were hoping that since food is an impulse buy that people will be more apt to go ahead and eat when they come in to see the bands instead of knowing they can stop at any point and eat."

News Five also spoke with Karen Hester of Hester's Store downtown. She said this year State Street businesses will really be showcased now that there aren't food vendors lining the street.