10KLF overall ticket sales above last year, below original goal as staff preps for largest fest yet
Back in March, Chyrll Sparks, vice president and national promotions director for Festivals & Concert Events, Inc., which stages both 10KLF and WE Fest each year at the Soo Pass Ranch, said she "wouldn't be surprised if we had 30,000 people this year," for the seventh annual 10,000 Lakes Festival.
Now, four months later, ticket sales are proving to be slower than that initial estimate -- but still above last year's overall ticket sales.
Dave Weissman, a 10KLF publicist, said Tuesday they'd sold upwards of 9,000 advance four-day music and camping tickets.
Last year, that number was 14,000 by the end of the festival, but a new option this year may have thrown a wrench into things - the offer of single-day tickets.
Weissman said they'd sold about 5,000 advance single-day tickets just for Saturday, the day megajam-star Dave Matthews Band takes the stage.
"This is more than we've ever sold before at this time," he said of the overall ticket sales.
Single-day tickets are available for each day of the festival (a change from the original offering of just Saturday single-day tickets), he said, and since they're not priced differently if you purchase early, he was confident they'd have a "strong walk-up presence" and wind up close to 20,000 overall attendees -- the new goal.
Single-day tickets cost $85, except for Wednesday (today), which is $55. Last minute concertgoers should purchase those at Soo Pass Ranch's East Gate. Weissman said they also charge $10 for day parking, and there isn't any camping included with those tickets.
"We were hoping Dave Matthews alone would bring in 10,000," Weissman said. "The whole purpose of those single day tickets was to rope in the people who don't necessarily want to embed themselves for four days, but want to come for a class-A act like Wilco."
He said it's likely that they'll continue selling single-day tickets in the future, even if they don't get an act as big as Dave Matthews Band in coming years.
"It's hard to look into the future, but I think so. We've had a request for single-day tickets for years, and Dave was just the tipping point," he said. "It's a good way to try the fest in smaller doses ... It's an investment in expanding our base."
He said he wasn't sure why ticket sales weren't higher -- "I wish I knew, then I would fix it" -- explaining that it could be a number of factors, namely, the global recession, and also possibly that there are more and more festivals like theirs popping up every year.
"Most are all close to large population centers. We think we have a strong event, but we are far from a population center," he said. "The closest is Minneapolis, and that's four-plus hours away, on a good day with no traffic."
Still, the crowd will be bigger, especially on Saturday, and organizers have planned to "ramp up" everything -- from security to ticket-takers to recycling staff.
As for the media hype that's surrounded the arrival of Mr. Matthews and crew, Weissman said it's understandable.
"This is his first ever outdoor concert in Minnesota and the closest he's ever been to North Dakota," he said. "He's never played a concert in North Dakota. He doesn't get up here that often, and it's an awesome show."
Weissman noted that to see a Dave Matthews Band concert would normally run between $60 and $75 a ticket.
"For $10 or $15 extra bucks, you get to see all these other great bands on four stages throughout the day," he said.