Riverbend officials attribute smaller crowds to increased prices
Some people have mixed thoughts about Riverbend 2019, but organizers say they were pleased with this year's outcome.
One thing a lot of people seem to agree on is that the crowd was smaller this year. In the past, Riverbend officials have boasted nightly attendance numbers as high as 100,000. This year, organizers say they are not releasing attendance numbers, citing policy.
“Festivals do not reveal attendance numbers,” Amy Morrow, Friends of the Festival Marketing Director said. “That is policy.”
Lines were shorter, crowds smaller, and vendors complained revenue was down from previous years.
“We've heard families, especially on social media, say well I can't afford to take a whole family to Riverbend because of the prices of the wristbands, etc..,” Morrow said. “So you know your snow cones and your sweet treats, those sales were down while the adult beverages and everything did great.”
Morrow says that's to be expected.
“When prices change and almost double in increase you do expect to have less volume. The biggest setbacks we've had to deal with over the years when talking to fans are 'it's so crowded' and 'it's so hot.' Well guess what, we can’t control Mother Nature, but one thing we can control is the breathing room,” Morrow said.
Cash and festival tokens went away this year. Instead, anyone who wanted to purchase food and drink inside had to load money onto a wristband. According to those who attended Riverbend, wristband scanners delayed entry on the first and last night of the festival.
Morrow says that too is to be expected.
“I think it was just technology and the bulk of activity happening with the system all at once," Morrow explained. "That just can be expected when you introduce technology.”
Morrow says feedback has not been collected just yet, but once that happens Friends of the Festival will evaluate the next steps ahead of next year's festival.
Morrow says this year’s changes will most likely stick.