In 2016, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee celebrated their 15th anniversary as one of the originators of the U.S. festival scene. Unfortunately, despite having headliners Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem and Dead and Company play the festival, ticket sales this year were at an all-time low. According to The Tennessean, this year the festival sold 45,537 tickets.
This is a 46 percent drop from 2011, the year Bonnaroo sold the most tickets, and a huge dropoff from the festival’s previous low of 65,164 tickets sold in 2008. It is important to note that, as the festival doesn’t release its ticket sales statistics, these numbers were calculated by The Tennessean following a public records request made in Bonnaroo’s Coffee County.
Paste has reached out to Bonnaroo for comment. Per Consequence of Sound, festival organizers did address the drop in attendance in a statement released on June 12:
For the past 15 years we’ve been extremely fortunate to have over a million fans share the Bonnaroo experience with us. While our attendance is slightly lower this year, the Bonnaroo community is as vibrant as ever and excited about celebrating this milestone year on The Farm.
Many industry aficionados say that Bonnaroo’s drop may be due to both a mixed reception to the headlining artists and an increase in the number of music festivals nationwide. Also, some put blame on the ticket prices. This year, a GA ticket to Bonnaroo cost $324. To make matters worse, 2016 is the first full year since concert promoter giant Live Nation purchased a majority share in the festival. As the market grows larger and larger, the “festival bubble” seems primed to pop.