LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Just a few hours after event organizers announced that Abbey Road On The River's future in Louisville is in jeopardy, key players are sharing their reactions.
Monday's fifth and final day of the popular Beatles tribute series began with an alert from the AROTR office vaguely referencing a rift between the festival and the Galt House hotel.
"Actions from the Galt House Hotel first compelled festival organizers to partner with the Marriott as the host hotel for 2016, but now organizers realize their hard work and efforts are being undermined by the Galt House," the release sent around to local media said Monday.
WAVE 3 News is the proud title sponsor of the festival which has drawn thousands of music fans to the riverfront since it kicked off Thursday.
"The festival does not belong to the Galt House," said Gary Jacob, the founder and organizer of AROTR. "It's ours, and so we will spend the next year either finding someone in Louisville who wants to buy Abbey Road On The River, or we will find a new city and a hotel up the I-71 corridor."
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer issued the following statement around noon Monday.
"Abbey Road on the River is a signature festival for our city and and it was nice to see large crowds in attendance this weekend," he said. "I'm hopeful that this private business matter can be resolved to keep the music playing in Louisville for many years to come."
And just minutes later, the Galt House released a statement of its own.
"Galt House Hotel is deeply disappointed by the announcement to move Abbey Road on the River in 2017 from Louisville," the statement read. "This festival has been a staple in the community and is adored by many. The Galt House Hotel is dedicated to driving business to the city and supporting local events. We wish them the best moving forward and hope they reconsider on the decision to leave Louisville."
That I-71 corridor includes Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, both of which are larger cities than Louisville. The festival actually began a little farther north up I-71, in Cleveland in 2002, before it settled in Louisville in 2005.
Fans of the event were disappointed to learn about the news on Monday.
"This music is part of our life it's our childhood," said Haley Clay of Greenup, KY. "We've been coming since we've been 6-7 years old."
For many that come to the festival even locals say they stay at the Galt House for the convenience. The Mariott they say just isn't close enough to the Belvedere.
"Not wanting to walk hotel four blocks away," said Paul McGarry. "That's not going to work security reasons walking at night."
"When we come we stay at the Galt House," said Clay. "We're always looking over the bands that we aren't getting to see and listening to them as we're falling asleep. It's sad."
Jacob stated that fans won't be disappointed next year with the festival. Jacob stated 2016 will be a blowout. Festival organizers promise to make it the best farewell party the city will ever imagine.
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