The 2014 Agrestic Music Festival will become the first outdoor musical event in Letcher County to feature legal beer sales this summer on June 6 and 7. Whitesburg physician Dr. Van Breeding has been the driving force behind the festival that promotes autism awareness and raises funds for research. Breeding asked the Whitesburg City Council to allow beer only sales at a special meeting called in place of the regular council meeting that was canceled last week because of the lack of a quorum. He told the council that he was asking only for beer sales, and all sales would be handled by employees of Whitesburg restaurants Las Penas, the Street Side Grill, and Summit
Breeding said that the festival will also sell soft drinks and food and that no coolers will be allowed into the festival. He said the sales of beer by state-trained personnel, who are experienced in selling alcohol and in spotting customers who have had too much to drink, would actually be more effective in preventing incidents than allowing attendees to bring in coolers without regulation. Breeding said that one table will be set up to check identifications, and bracelets will be issued to people of legal drinking age who wish to purchase beer. Separate sections, complete with food vendors and restrooms, will be set up for both those who wish to purchase beer and for those who don’t.
Breeding also told the council that the three restaurants will keep the profit from the beer sales and the festival will make its money through admission and food and soft drink sales. Sunday Best will headline the event, with a full line-up of other bands as well. The Agrestic Festival will be held the same weekend that Appalshop holds its Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival and performances will start at 5 p.m. both days.
Agrestic is a term that means a small rural, remote area and Breeding said it is a good fit. The festival is in its third year and has grown each year. About 700 people attended last year and Breeding said he hopes for over 1,000 this year. The council voted unanimously to approve his request. Whitesburg City Police and the Letcher County Rangers will provide security and the beer area as well as the overall festival grounds will be carefully monitored.
In other business, pet owners in Whitesburg who allow their pets to defecate on city streets and don’t clean up after them will face a fine in the future. Mayor James Wiley Craft said city law allows for fines up to $500 if they fail to clean up after their pets and it will be enforced. Craft said people should be more responsible than to leave animal feces where children and pedestrians can step in it and it will be treated as a nuisance under city law.
“If we see a person allowing an animal to defecate on or beside a street, we will fine them,” said Craft.