Friday, May 15–Springfest Attendance Decline Blamed On Opening Day Rain

OCEAN CITY – Though bad weather on opening night may have put Springfest numbers below the pace from past years, the town’s official kickoff into the summer season was deemed an overall success.

Ocean City Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster said Tuesday that an estimated 93,700 attended Springfest, which is down from the five-year average of just over 100,000 per year. However, Shuster noted that ticket sales for the entertainment booked at Springfest were a big success.

“It was a really good turnout as far as entertainment is concerned,” said Shuster. “Randy Travis sold out on Friday, and Gary Puckett (of Union Gap band) came about 40 tickets short of selling out on Saturday. … We were incredibly pleased with the entertainment this year, and we hope to have all the entertainment for next year’s event booked by January.”

An estimated $113,330 was brought in from ticket sales alone throughout the weekend as all 1,771 seats were packed to see country music legend Travis and an impressive 1,418 people attended Thursday’s Fabulous Hubcaps show despite poor weather conditions.

“Usually on opening night, we bring in about 18,000 people through the doors, but due to the rain, we only brought in about 10,000,” said Shuster. “If it wasn’t for the weather on Thursday, we would have slightly exceeded last year’s numbers.”

The town gauges the numbers of attendees at Springfest and Sunfest by a “scientific estimation,” in which people do an actual headcount at the festival’s four entrances in 15-minute intervals, and then multiplying that number by four to get an estimated head count per hour.

There is no actual way to gauge if the event was deemed a success from a vendor perspective, as Shuster cited that vendors rarely give their numbers to the town at the end of the event. Shuster did note, however, that all of the vendor booths sold out for this year’s Springfest.

Over 186 artists and more than 30 food and drink vendors were on hand at Springfest 2009, which was once again free to the public.