Despite a 10 percent drop in attendance, Arts, Beats & Eats producer John Witz is "thrilled" with this year's event.
Now in its 16th year, the festival drew approximately 355,000 people to Royal Oak over the course of the four-day event. That is down from last year's attendance of 390,000, according to Witz.
"It was another great year for us," Witz said.
In 2010, the first year the festival was in Royal Oak, the festival had a record-breaking attendance of 423,000.
"For us it is not a numbers game, it's about the experience. It's about providing a good time and it's about safety," he said.
Witz praised the Royal Oak Police and Fire Departments for their roles in keeping the festival safe and incident-free for four years in a row.
"The crowds were good. They were very well behaved,” said Deputy Chief Gordon Young.
There was only one arrest over the four days, Young said. Last year, there were a total of six arrests.
“The only issue was inside Pronto (restaurant), which is inside the festival footprint,” said Young. A man was arrested for being disorderly — creating a scene yelling and screaming — after refusing to leave when asked.
No noise is good newsThe festival, which boasts nine stages, made adjustments to reduce noise complaints this year, Witz said. Last year the city received approximately 20 calls concerning loud music.
"As far as I know there were not any complaints this year," Witz said, attributing that to lowering the speaker pitch and doing better sound checks.
The music coming from stages also never went past 11:30 p.m., Witz said.
Estimated daily attendance figures provided by organizers:
- Friday: 65,000
- Saturday: 110,000
- Sunday: 100,000
- Monday: 80,000
"I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict donations made to charities will be the best ever, even though attendance was down," Witz said.
Witz pointed to the addition this year of the FirstMerit Community Challenge, which encouraged volunteers to setup a profile on the Royal Oak-based CrowdRise.com website and raise pledges of donations for their individual charities.
Festival organizers will release the amount of money raised for charity at the end of the month. Last year charities split nearly $340,000.
In addition to the arrests, 1,779 parking tickets were issued, Young said, up from 1,613 last year but still less than the first year when 1,873 drivers found a $50 ticket tucked under their windshield wiper.
Fire department runsDuring the four-day event, the Royal Oak Fire Department made 125 runs, according to Fire Chief Chuck Thomas. On an average day, the department responds to approximately 15 calls, the chief said, acknowledging it was a busy long weekend.
Many of the calls for service were made Friday night after heavy rains, which cancelled many performances including Eddie Money, downed power lines and flooded Royal Oak streets and basements. Residents reported hearing buzzing and crackling sounds in flooded basements and were concerned with electrical safety, Thomas said.
In addition, there was a late afternoon fire in the 1500 block of North Main Street Monday, which is outside the festival's footprint. That fire was under investigation Tuesday morning.
As for the festival itself, the department assisted festival goers with bee stings, blisters and a few stumbles.
"Minor things," Thomas said.
What Patch readers are sayingHere's what readers are saying on Royal Oak Patch's Facebook page about the event.
- Annie-Karson Prevost: 50 Amp Fuse was awesome!
- Julie Dean Wingett: Really enjoyed Appleseed Collective on Sunday night. (As for the art, we bought three pieces last year, so had to pass this time around.)
- Carol Cybulski Hennessey: Every group we heard, we enjoyed. The food was excellent. Great ABE!
- Jennifer OrPenga: The part where people were attacked by large swarms of flying insects. Also when it ended and getting to ride down Washington this morning with no traffic at 7 a.m.
- Kellie Rochefort Orloski: It was awesome as always. Enjoyed all of the music.
- Cheryl Palmer McDonald: Music at the main stage was just OK this year. Really wanted to see Eddie Money and got rained out. Love 50 Amp Fuse, but I hope they never invite that joker MC Hammer back.
- Allison Torrance Adams: I loved Five Pound Snap and Mike Leslie Band. Favorite cover band was Dig a Phony, a Beatles tribute band - seven piece band with fantastic voices and great musicians. I ate and drank at Lily's two out of three days. New outdoor seating is fantastic.
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