LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — More than 15,000 tickets have been sold so far for the Interlocken Music Festival next month — four days of rock 'n' roll at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County.
Festival organizers recently discussed plans for the event, which will feature performances by legends Neil Young on Sept. 7 and former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh on Sept. 6-8 at the nearly 5,000-acre Oak Ridge Estate, south of Lovingston.
It's the newest and, likely, the largest musical gathering to hit Central Virginia. Organizers anticipate a crowd of 30,000 to 40,000 people.
The lineup will feature Zac Brown, jam-band specialists Widespread Panic and The String Cheese Incident and Georgia-bred southern rockers the Black Crowes, to name a few.
Plans include a wide array of ticket packages — from $10,000 luxury tour bus rentals to $285 general admission passes to the four-day festival. Several tiers at the top and bottom of the price range already have sold out, and costs will continue to increase as the Sept. 5-8 festival approaches.
For those looking to attend the event in style, there are VIP and "Super" VIP packages, ranging from $599 to $999, available (for "Super" VIP, you must be at least 21 years old). These tickets offer an assortment of additional perks, from festival admission and exclusive access to air-conditioned bathrooms with flushable toilets and showers to complimentary late-night munchies and an invitation to a private acoustic performance by Further, featuring Weir and Lesh.
"I've got such a great partner in Pete Shapiro," festival co-founder Dave Frey said. "We're just booking a show we'd want to go to. We're trying to make it special. That's kind of our objective. We're just having one band play at a time. We don't have a bunch of bands playing all at once. We don't like that."
Frey added attendees can expect 90- to 120-minute sets from the list of artists, who've helped to sell 60 percent of the tickets thus far.
Early-bird and "Tier 1" tickets are sold out; "Tier 2" is available for $285, which means general admission access, for one person, to all four days of the event. At this time, organizers have no plans to offer single-day tickets.
The festival offers an array of camping and RV options at various pricing levels; student general admission tickets also are available.
On-site dining and concession options will consist of some area eateries and feature a large portion of the wine, craft beer and cider industries that have seen a boom around Central Virginia in recent years.
"A brewery like Devils Backbone may have 10, or Star Hill might have 12 brands, and we'll have each of those brands represented," Frey said. "We're trying to do the same with food. We're going to have a tent that we're calling 'Local,' and it'll be right in the center of the place. The idea is to have different restaurants from the area, like The Rock Barn or Mono Locco."
Devils Backbone owner Steve Crandall and his staff are gearing up for the event. He's anticipating increased traffic at his 100-acre property in Roseland, which is roughly 20 miles from the Interlocken site.
"For us, we will definitely see a bump in business, the week proceeding and the week after," he said. "We are also opening up a new beer garden to accommodate the extra folks coming in. My brewer is going to be working around the clock now. We'll be selling a bunch."
Several of the festival's VIP packages, like RV, luxury tour bus and on-site tent rentals with twin and queen beds, ranging from $799 to $10,000, already sold out.
"Yeah, I was surprised," Frey said. "The upper echelon of things has done really well."
Some hotel accommodations still are available in the Lynchburg, Nelson County and Charlottesville areas, but are filling up fast.
"I would say that the flow of reservations for Interlocken is steady," said Becky Aleman, the director of sales for Courtyard By Marriot on Murray Place in Lynchburg. "But to have it be successful, then that just means this is something that, hopefully, the hotels in Lynchburg and Charlottesville can plan on benefiting from for the next few years."
Shuttle service will be provided to and from the venue for attendees staying at the Courtyard By Marriot, Wintergreen resort and in Charlottesville, where pick up locations will be the Fashion Square Mall (west side, look for on-site signage) and downtown on Market Street (between Second and Fourth Streets). It's included in some of the accommodation packages, but will cost $40 (daily pass) to $120 (four-day pass) for people who are not staying in those hotels.
Frey said he and his team have been meeting with local officials since last year, hoping to limit the wait time festival-goers experience getting into the event. The site is located near U.S. 29, between Colleen and Lovingston.
"It was our biggest hesitation with coming to this property," he said. "But we've had a very comprehensive traffic plan that we've been working on since October with VDOT, the state police, the county police, EMS and fire. My thing is safety first."
Frey said he is pleased with how plans — and ticket sales — are progressing.
"One of the interesting things is that we've really sold a lot for out of state," he said. "We've got a lot of people coming from outside of Virginia. Things are going well."
- At this time, there are no plans for single-day tickets. "Tier 2" is available for $285, which means general admission access, for one person, to all four days of the event.
- Four-day, general admission student tickets are available for $180. The purchaser must be under the age of 25 at the time of the festival and present a current/valid student ID and a valid drivers' license or other photo ID at the gate. If student eligibility cannot be verified, the purchaser will have to pay the difference in price. The quantity of those tickets is limited.
- Children ages 12 and under are free, but must be accompanied, at all times, by a parent or legal guardian. Parents must remember to bring a copy of their child's birth certificate or report card to verify their age.
- Parking passes must be purchased in addition to general admission tickets. They cost $15 per car and are good for all four days.
- Camping options include tent only (one per campsite, $20 with purchase of a general admission ticket — your car will be parked in an adjacent lot); camping with car ($50 and already sold out); and on-site tent rentals with two cots ($549, along with the purchase of general admission tickets).
- RV parking, one per spot, is offered for $100 with the purchase of a general admission ticket.
- There also is no re-entry for camping vehicles and RVs once they drive into the event.
- In terms of adult beverages, concertgoers can bring one case of beer and one plastic bottle of liqueur per person. For cooking, small gas grills are permitted (i.e. propane-powered by Coleman canisters). Porta-Johns and, for a small fee, showers will be available in each camping area.
- On Sept. 5, the festival's first day, the camping area will open at 9 a.m., with the performance area opening at 2 p.m. and the concert starting shortly thereafter. For Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the performance area will open at 11 a.m., with the camping area closing on Monday at 2 p.m.
For more information, visit www.interlockenfestival.com