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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What's New For This Year's Merchants & Music Festival

Merchants & Music. FTM file. 
"We are excited about all the new offerings this year at the 13th annual Merchants & Music Festival," said Renaissance Board Chair and M&M Committee member Brian Sand

New this year is a bigger and better Kids Zone focusing on fun for families. Todd Hensel of the YMCA and Tracy Davis with State Farm have been instrumental in developing the new and improved area. 

"We are so excited to have Home Depot and Lowe's back and they are both bringing great projects for this kids to work on throughout the day," Sand added.

RELATED: Merchants & Music Add Bourbon Tent 

Executive Transportation is again offering a free shuttle service from three separate lots. The committee is encouraging guests to park for free in the KLH Engineering lot on the south end of town at 1538 Alexandria Pike, in the Fort Thomas Plaza, 90 Alexandria Pike and in the South Hill Medical Center lot just across from DEP's at 525 Alexandria Pike.  From there, you can catch a shuttle right to the front gate of the park.
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In the past, you have had to wait to get IDs checked to get drink wrist bands. In hopes of alleviating a long wait time, you will now be able to do both at the entrances of the festival. 

There will also be additional ticket sale locations to shorten your wait time to enjoy a Jim Beam cocktail in the new Jim Beam tent or a West Sixth beer.

For those who may have had a drink or two, a taxi and Uber pick-up and drop-off location will be across from the tower outside of the park. Taxis will be there all evening long.

In addition to all these new awesome features, the music line up will be new and entertaining as well.

"Many folks ask how we chose the bands for the festival each year. It's probably the most laborious process of the entire festival, Sand said. 

If you can believe it we actually start working on the band lineup almost immediately after the festival ends the year prior." 

Factors that play into the band lineup start with submissions from local bands and the big name headliners. According to Sand, with the way that the music industry landscape has changed, touring is really the only way that musicians can make money. He says album sales are pretty much non-existent, and it's hard to book a band that has a hit on the radio and that is current; they simply are too expensive. He says the committee looks for new and up and coming acts or older established rock stars.

Booking also is affected by touring schedules. Luckily, last year's M&M fit well into Bret Michael's tour schedule.

"With Frankie Ballard and Dustin Lynch, we caught lightening in a bottle in the fact that Dustin had the #1 song in the country the morning of the festival. When they were booked both guys were fairly unknown, Sand said.

We are on a similar path this year. We are very lucky in that Brothers Osborne just got nominated for 2 CMA awards for best vocal duo and best new artist plus they spent the summer opening for Miranda Lambert. Add into the mix that we booked the Grammy award winning Kentucky Headhunters and the up and coming duo Sundy Best from Lexington, and I would say the lineup this year is the best top to bottom that we've ever put on stage."

If you are interested in volunteering for this year's  festival this year's festival, contact Kim Rechtin, head of the volunteer effort at

The festival this year is on September 24 in Fort Thomas' Tower Park.


  1. I hope they have Budweiser and Miller this year, that IPA they had last year was the only option and it sucked

  2. agreed. they need more variety. Don't get me wrong, I love craft beer but its not a good idea for an all day event.