Rolling in: Hotels booked and business booming

When tickets for the October 6 Rolling Stones show went on sale on May 20, seats for the biggest rock show in Charlottesville's history weren't the only thing snapped up.

"We were full the day it was announced," says Dan Green, front desk clerk at Farmington where members and their guests will fill the club's 40 rooms.

The Boar's Head Inn filled its 170 rooms in three days, says Shelly Wood at the reservation desk, at $310-$315 each. The Inn has a 45-name wait list for that night.

Some people looking for alternate– but still upscale– accommodations turned to Guesthouses, a company that offers lodging in estate cottages in and around Charlottesville.

"We have 50," says proprietor Sally Day. But on October 6, she adds, "We have only one vacancy," a cottage in Scottsville that requires a two-night stay. Despite the distance from town, "We'll still probably rent it," says Day, who plans to attend the concert with her husband and teenaged children.

With the Stones attracting an older– and more affluent– crowd than most rock shows, it's not surprising that the upscale lodgings were filled quickly, but the less expensive choices aren't going begging.

The Residence Inn on Millmont Street has no vacancy, nor does the Red Carpet Inn off 29 North.

In fact, from the Hook's unofficial survey, as of mid-September it appeared that nearly every hotel and motel was full.


"We have 20 to 30 rooms open," says a receptionist at the Royal Inn Motel on 29 North, who seemed unaware of the upcoming concert when we called in mid-September. With room rates ranging from $75-$95, it's good news, no doubt, for those still desperately dialing for lodging.

While hotels pad their bank deposits, some retailers are also getting in the act. Shannon Iaculli, owner of Bittersweet, a clothing store in the Glass Building on Second Street, says her vintage-looking Rolling Stones t-shirts have been flying off the racks.

Iaculli estimates she's sold "probably 50" of the $36 t's, and has about 10 left on shelves, with another order of shirts– and sweatshirts– on the way.

"I've heard people say, 'Oh, I'm going to wait and get one at the show,' but, oh, these are so much nicer than the ones you can get on tour,'" she says.

And reps for various events occurring around the area the weekends before and after the show say attendance is looking good, although they don't know if it's because their attendees will also be getting, ahem, Stone'd.

"We've seen an increase in advance ticket sales," says Katie Meeks, tasting room manager for Rebec Vineyards, where the 15th annual Garlic Festival is slated for October 8 and 9. "But I haven't gotten any reservations from people who say, 'We're coming to see the Stones.'"

Weather, Meeks believes, will be the biggest factor in festival attendance.

One type of business that may suffer a negative "stoning" on October 6 is restaurants– especially those downtown.

"We don't have a single reservation on October 6," says Peter Castiglione, general manager of Zocalo on the Downtown Mall. "I don't think people would have time to get in here and eat and then go find a place to park," he says, citing the show's 7pm start time. By contrast, business booms, he says, when the Paramount Theater next door hosts a show.

For the Stones show, "Maybe we'll see some spillover of people coming downtown afterward," he muses.

If that's the case, then it seems everyone may find some satisfaction.

Bittersweet owner Shannon Iaculli dons the coveted Stones t-shirt. The shirts have been flying off the racks.