Manchester to Annex Bonnaroo Grounds–Maybe, But Not Yet

Cooling fountain at Bonnaroo

Last year you might remember that Coffee County failed to sign a long-term contract with Bonnaroo.
Now Bonnaroo representatives have asked Manchester City leaders about the possibility of annexing its property so the land at Great Stage Park would be inside the city limits of Manchester.
Because the land is currently outside the city limits, the county receives sales tax revenues generated during the annual event, which is around about $1 million per year.
Just because Manchester can annex the land, the city will not initially start receiving all of the sales tax. They would receive any growth in sales tax dollars, and after 15 years following annexation, all sales taxes from the event would then go to Manchester. If the city annexes the land, the county will lose sales tax revenue. To annex Bonnaroo the city can annex the property with written consent of the owners or by referendum.
Under the old contract that ended in 2017, Bonnaroo paid a $3 fee for each ticket sold and a $30,000 flat fee to the county each year, amounting to roughly $250,000 annually. This did not include sales taxes collected on-site.
A one-year contract between Axis Nation, LLC, conducting business as Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, and Coffee County was signed last year for a one-time donation of $205,000.
Bonnaroo wanted to sign a 10-year deal that would have raised the ticket fee from $3 to $4 per ticket to fund a road project. They wanted the county to use the funds to widen Bushy Branch Road that leads to the festival’s main entrance.
These ticket fees will no longer be designated to go to the county until a long-term agreement is reached with either Coffee County or Manchester.
Despite the contract issues Bonnaroo will continue to pay for emergency services along with traffic and public safety personnel provided by the county during the event.
The 19th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is set for June 13-16. (Courtesy of the Tullahoma News)