Summerfest reported attendance of 445,611 people for its 2022 run, up 8.8% from the 2021 festival, the first time the Milwaukee music fest has used a nine -day, three -week format.
But that speed was still far from the daily average attendance for the music festival before the pandemic knocked the pins from under, well, everyone.
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In a statement released late Thursday that revealed attendance numbers in 2022, Summerfest listed what it calls “many successes” for this year’s festival, including a “world-class lineup” and a 5% increase in total sponsorship revenue from 2021.
But it also identified several factors that hurt the 2022 festival, from changes in consumer spending habits due to COVID-19 to a “crowded concert calendar” and the loss of eight headlining acts-most notably Justin Bieber, that sold-out American show. The Family Insurance Amphitheater had to be postponed because half of the pop star’s face was paralyzed due to Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The venue went dark – only the second time the amphitheater had gone dark since 1987.
Another factor, according to Summerfest: Group ticket sales dropped 46% from pre-pandemic levels, which the festival blamed on “changes to work-at-home policies for many employers. ”
Each day, Summerfest drew more than 49,500 people in 2022, compared to more than 45,000 in 2021, when the festival was held over a three -day weekend in September of that year.
But in 2019, last year Summerfest had its traditional 11-day festival run, each day attendance was over 65,000.
In a statement last Thursday, Summerfest described the 2022 festival run-June 23-25, June 30-July 2, and July 7-9-as “part of testing a new festival format.” Officials at Milwaukee World Festival Inc., Summerfest’s flagship company, “will review the results of this model and confirm dates for Summerfest 2023 in August.”
The statement also said officers were not available for interviews.
The loss of Bieber’s show-possibly the only sold-out concert at the amphitheater this year-was one of the biggest shocks Summerfest felt in 2022.
Some of the other shows in the amphitheater, which require a separate ticket for admission, are close to capacity, including those with Machine Gun Kelly and Backstreet Boys. But at least one – the hard rock show on June 30 with Disturbed and Lamb of God – barely filled half the amphitheater, and that was after handing out free tickets to the yard before the show.
The cancellations in the grounds were also painful, with two of the festival’s most buzziest acts, Willow and Nessa Barrett, bailing out their dates and forcing the festival to scramble.
Contact Chris Foran at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @cforan12.
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