Bonnaroo ticket sales hit an all-time low this year. Although the festival doesn’t actually release its numbers, The Tennessean did some clever math to figure things out — Bonnaroo pays $30,000 plus $3 for every ticket sold to Tennessee’s Coffee County, so they requested the public records of the yearly payments, subtracted the $30,000 from each total, and then divided that number by three to get the actual annual ticket sales. What they found is that Bonnaroo sold 45,537 tickets this year, which is 28,156 fewer and $9.07 million less in revenue than last year, plus a 46% decrease from the festival’s 2011 high. The previous low was in 2008, with 65,164 tickets sold.
This steep decline comes in the first full year since Live Nation purchased a controlling interest in the fest weeks before its 2015 iteration. Industry experts are reportedly attributing the drop to a combination of this year’s headliners — Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, and Dead & Company — and increased competition among summer music festivals.
Bonnaroo apparently anticipated the lower sales numbers and warned Coffee County officials before the fest took place. In June, on its final day, organizers released the following statement regarding attendance:
For the past 15 years we’ve been extremely fortunate to have over a million fans share the Bonnaroo experience with us,” the statement read. “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.”