Organizers pledge to fix problems for Route 66 festival

Thursday, January 10, 2002

JOPLIN, Mo. -- Organizers of the annual Route 66 Music Festival are pledging to fix past problems, while delivering a top-notch lineup of entertainers.

The event is planned for July 18-21 on the same private property in Joplin where last year's show was held. Organizers also have increased the talent budget by $100,000. Confirmed acts include Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Doobie Brothers and David Ball.

While many attended the fourth annual show last July without problems, others were turned away because of traffic congestion and overcrowding. Hundreds of people later sought refunds.

At the time, organizers estimated they could accommodate about 60,000 people on the 238-acre site at Route FF and County Road 180. Several ticketholders, however, were turned away because there was no place for them to park.

About 60 law enforcement officers were called out the second night when a group of people grew tired of the long lines, tore down a section of chain fence and went in.

Organizers attributed part of last year's problems to the thousands of complimentary tickets that were issued. As a result, no free tickets will be available this year.

Workers at last year's festival also had trouble collecting paychecks, with many being turned away at the Joplin office. Checks eventually were issued after festival owners Clyde Lorance and Rick Gregg of Springfield, Mo., fired office staffers.

New festival director Patrick Tuttle said such mistakes won't happen again.

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