Sunday, September 21, 2003

Tall Stacks cruise tickets almost gone



By Larry Nager
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Admission pins for the Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival are going slowly. But if you've waited until now to get cruise tickets, you may find yourself landlocked out of the nation's largest riverboat festival.

About 100,000 of the 117,000 tickets for Tall Stacks cruises, running Oct. 15-19, have been sold, said Karen Bender, Tall Stacks marketing manager.

The bulk of those sales are for the Friday and Saturday of the fest - Oct. 17-18 - with 87 percent of the Friday cruises and 95 percent of the Saturday cruises sold out.

"Not much left to choose from on those two days," said Bender. "We still have pretty good selections for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday."

Cruise ticket sales are 20 percent ahead of the 1999 Tall Stacks, according to Bender. The event is held every four years.

Even if you didn't buy early, you can still board a boat early. Bender reports they have plenty of $18 "tour" tickets, which allow you to board the docked boats from 6-9 a.m. daily.

All boat tickets, including those $18 tour tickets, come with a Tall Stacks admission pin, which grants access to the festival site and musical portion of the festival for all five days. The 30 national acts performing on three stages include such recent additions as blues great B.B. King and the Hackberry Ramblers, one of the last traditional Cajun bands.

Pins are being sold at Kroger and the Tall Stacks Web site (www.tallstacks.com). But, because the festival is general admission with virtually unlimited capacity, festivalgoers are feeling little pressure to buy pins early. Kroger reports that 13,200 pins have been sold, Bender says.

"It's like October. It seems to far away. I just don't need to buy a ticket now," Molly Mott, 27, of Oakley, said as she watched Screaming Mimes at the BarrelHouse Thursday.

"I'm definitely going. I just haven't gotten around to it," said her friend Jackie Treehorn, 27, of Oakley. "All those people who are going to be there for five days for just $12? There's no reason why you shouldn't go."

If they wait too long, they'll have to pay more. Pins are $12 in advance ($10 for Kroger Plus cardholders), but they'll be $15 at the gate.

As the lineup is finalized, there have been some changes to the Tall Stacks schedule announced Aug. 3. Nickel Creek, originally scheduled for Oct. 16, has moved to Oct. 17, trading spaces with the Del McCoury Band, which now plays Oct. 16.

E-mail lnager@enquirer.com

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