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Bonnaroo boosts small Tennessee town

Marketplace Staff Aug 14, 2009
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival. The event was billed to highlight the relationship between music and peace, and ended up being a big economic economic boost for the small town of Bethel, N.Y. One festival that’s been gaining an audience in recent years is Bonnaroo. This summer it brought dozens of acts including Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to Manchester, Tenn. That’s a city about an hour’s drive southeast of Nashville. Betty Superstein is the mayor of Manchester. She joins us now on the phone. Good morning.

Superstein: Well good morning. How are you today?

Chiotakis: We’re doing well. We’re talking tens of thousands of people making their way to your town every year. That’s got to be a logistical nightmare?

Superstein: No, not really. The first year it took us by surprise. Who would have thought that over 100,000 people would show up, and it was a nightmare. The interstate was clogged.

Chiotakis: What’s the payoff, madam mayor, for all of that?

Superstein: It’s just like a large industry. We think it’s like a $20 million impact on the area. Plus they spent close to $3 million on materials, labor and supplies in Coffee County for those four days.

Chiotakis: A lot of people look at this very much like Woodstock. But a good number of the people who go to Bonnaroo weren’t even born when Woodstock happened. How much is the legacy of Woodstock felt at this event?

Superstein: I think it’s the age of many of the festival-goers. They don’t know Woodstock. But people my age, yes, I’d say it was like the birth of many of them. The people my age they see this as the beginning. But this Bonnaroo. This past year was just beautiful. It just flowed.

Chiotakis: Betty Superstein is the mayor of Manchester. Thank you madam mayor for joining us this morning.

Superstein: Oh, thank you.

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