Sunday, June 13, 2004

Numbers jump at music festival

Stars, weather help Stampede success

By C.E. Hanifin / The Cincinnati Enquirer

When the Meijer Country Stampede debuted last year, organizers wagered that they could rope in country music fans with a bill featuring big-name acts. That turned out to be a safe bet - about 100,000 people turned out in 2003.

Jemma Lewis
Jemma Lewis of Dry Ridge gets her shirt signed by Becky Priest, center, and Renae Truex, right, members of Cowboy Crush.
(Craig Ruttle/
The Cincinnati Enquirer)
This year, the return was even greater. The music festival, which came back to the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, drew a crowd of about 126,000 during its four-day run from June 3 to 6.

The strong lineup, which included chart-topping headliners Reba McEntire and Martina McBride and popular acts such as Terri Clark and Neal McCoy, helped boost attendance, says Wayne Rouse, president/general manager of Country Stampede.

"When you have performers of that caliber, more people will come out to see them," he says. The weekend's great weather didn't hurt, either.

Here's a look at this year's Stampede, by the numbers:

21,000: Thursday's attendance.

24,000: Friday's attendance.

41,000: Saturday's attendance.

40,000: Sunday's attendance.

100: Number of campsites available. They sold out, and most were occupied by RVers.

2, 440: The number of miles from Seattle to Sparta. That's where the festivalgoer who traveled the farthest came from.

More than 6,000: The number of complimentary tickets given to military personnel stationed in Fort Knox, Ky., and Fort Campbell, Tenn.

2 hours: The amount of time Cowboy Crush spent signing autographs after their crowd-pleasing performance Sunday. The group had planned to spend 30 minutes meeting fans.

About 3,000: The number of funnel cakes that were devoured.

270: The number of mechanical bull rides taken.

2005: Country Stampede will return next year, and will feature a diverse lineup of artists, as the event did this year, Rouse says. They'll set a date and start booking the acts in the next few months.

"We'll explore some new additions" to the event, too, he says. "We always like to have some surprises."


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