Festival could bring $5 million to St. Augustine

Merchants excited about 25,000 music fans in town for two days

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - As excitement builds toward this weekend's Gentleman of the Road tour, merchants in this tourist town are hoping the two-day music festival brings life to a traditionally slow September.

Mumford and Sons and many other bands will bring 25,000-plus fans to Francis Field in St. Augustine, which has the city's stores and restaurants are prepping for one of the busiest weekends they've had all year.

A city official said $5 million is a conservative estimate of the economic impact the event will bring.

While much of that money will be spent at vendors set up at the primary festival venue, downtown stores and restaurants are also hoping for a piece of the action. One restaurant and bar in the heart of the city has put new systems in place just for this weekend's big event.

"Were planning on a very big weekend," said Chef Scott King of A1A Ale Works. "There's obviously a lot of people coming in town and we've staffed for this and have had meetings for the past few weeks, so we have extra staff in every department."

King and his restaurant staff are ready for one of the biggest crowds their city has seen in a while. They've set up a to-go room for the weekend "for people that really don't want to wait two hours to sit down."

King says there are no down side to his restaurant getting the extra business -- he says the main concern is getting around downtown.

"We've made provisions to have on-site storage for extra product because I think the trucks may have problems getting around downtown," King said.

Even though he expects a few bumps in the road, King says the city needs more big events like this.

"I think is is going to be great for the restaurant, great for the city," King said. "I think this is very exciting. I hope everything goes off without a hitch and we get more events like this in town."

Copyright 2013 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.