After three concerts in the new Amphitheater in Cascades Park, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners received a detailed analysis of what went right, what went wrong and options for future activities.
The raw numbers show that the three concerts cost the taxpayers approximately $175,000. The losses were attributed to the lack of attendance.
The total attendance for the Tracy Lawrence concert was 1,377 and 1,437 for the Charlie Wilson concert. The Rodney Atkins concert only drew 632 paying customers while over 1600 tickets were given away for promotional reasons.
Estimates indicate that attendance needs to be closer to 3,000 people per show to be sustainable.
However, given the unwelcomed financial news, there were some bright spots according to the report.
The investment in the first few concerts will make large promoters aware of the benefits the venue has to offer, and eventually draw promoters who will take some of the financial risk away from the County.
Staff told the Commission
ers that although “there was a greater-than-anticipated investment associated with hosting these events, feedback has been very positive as attendees expressed satisfaction with the venue, the customer service, and the quality of entertainment.”
In addition to demonstrating that the Amphitheater could successfully host concerts with extensive light and sound requirements, the County received substantial media exposure within and outside of Leon County.
The report to the Board used operational information from the St. Augustine Amphitheater to show that St. Augustine’s financial history was basically “break even” even after nearly a decade of performances. A 2013 economic impact study of the St. Augustine Amphitheater found that nearly 65 percent of attendees were visitors from outside of St. Augustine.
Moving forward, the Commissioners are faced with a decision regarding who will bear the risk of future activities at the Amphitheater. The self-promoting approach used during the first three concerts puts all the financial risks with taxpayers.
The hope is that the initial investment with the first three concerts will result in some co-promoting opportunities from promoters of events that feel the venue can host a profitable show.