Wichita Festivals Inc. released numbers for the 2016 festival on Tuesday, and they’re good.
Attendance, button sales and food and beverage sales all were up, according to the festival’s report, and arrests were down.
“It didn’t hurt that Mother Nature gave us a nine-day hug,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, the president and CEO of Wichita Festivals Inc. “But I think beyond that there really were concerts and events that folks were going to make room in their lives to come down and enjoy.”
The festival estimated that crowds totaled 455,000 for the 2016 festival, which happened over nine rain-free days June 3-11 in downtown Wichita. That’s up from 410,000 in 2015.
Among the other results:
▪ 101,000 buttons were sold, up from 97,000 in 2015
▪ Food and beverage sales increased 17 percent over 2015
▪ The Wichita Police Department reported five arrests on or near festival grounds, a record-low
▪ Nearly 250 donors contributed $850,000 in cash sponsorships and in-kind support
▪ Cash sponsorships were up 13 percent since 2015 and 48 percent since 2012
▪ The concert with the highest attendance – 35,000 – was the closing night show by The Roots, followed by 25,000 for Elle King, 20,000 for the Violent Femmes and 19,000 for the Coleman Country Concert with Brothers Osborne and A Thousand Horses
▪ The opening-night fireworks show drew 40,000 people, and closing night fireworks drew 60,000 people
▪ The highest-attended festival days were Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4. Around 75,000 people attended each of those days
Jarvis, who took over running the festival in 2012, said the best changes she and her staff made have been gating the entire festival and raising button prices. People have adjusted to the changes well, she said, and that bodes well for future festivals.
Next year’s is scheduled for June 2-10.
“I tell you, folks have really supported the changes we’ve made and it’s wonderful to see that fundamentally there are so many people who want this to be a pride-worthy signature event for the community,” she said.