In addition to reducing ticket prices, John Hansell has just announced that WhiskeyFest Chicago is being scaled back.
Although he doesn't say by how much, they are "cutting back slightly on the number of tickets we sell." Putting the best possible face on the situation, which is obviously being driven by the recession, he says this will create a "more intimate" experience.
True enough. I remember when it began and was smaller. For me, the biggest inconvenience in recent years has been that most of the seminar rooms fill up fast and if you come in late, you probably won't get a seat, let alone a taste of whatever they are sampling. At the peak of the evening, even the tasting hall can get shoulder-to-shoulder.
The bad economy may also reduce the number of scene-makers in favor of real whiskey enthusiasts, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. Although Hansell's announcement doesn't mention this, the number of tickets they make available is related to their contract with the venue, things like how much food they buy, maybe even how much of the available ballroom space they use, how much hotel staff they need, things like that. So it is a real number. If sales turn out to be stronger than expected, they can't just add tickets at the last minute. There comes a point, and this may well be that point, when they have to commit and take their chances.
So, are you planning to attend? I'll be there.