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Woodstock Ticket Sales Don't Match Attendance Projections

Fewer than 187,000 tickets were sold, for gross take of $28.9 million.

The number of tickets sold for Woodstock '99 fell well below the attendance

claimed by promoters during the festival, according to figures to be

released Monday by concert-industry trade magazine Pollstar.

A total of 186,983 tickets were sold for the three-day event, Pollstar

editor Gary Bongiovanni said Friday (Aug. 27), citing numbers he said

the magazine obtained from promoters. That translates into a gross take

of $28,864,748, he said.

Woodstock co-promoter John Scher confirmed those figures through a

spokesperson.

On the morning of July 23, the festival's first day, Scher said 150,000

people had arrived at the concert site in Rome, N.Y., and 70,000 more

were expected. On the closing day, July 25, Scher said attendance had

peaked at 200,000.

Despite the difference between sales and expectations, Bongiovanni called

the figures impressive.

"Nothing else will come close to that this year," he said.

The basic ticket price for Woodstock '99 was $150, which admitted a

ticket-holder onto the grounds for three days. The gross take reflects

a price range from $66 — for a block of 300 tickets made available

to the Griffiss Local Development Corporation, which oversaw the concert

site — to $180 for a three-day pass purchased at the gate, Bongiovanni

said.

The concert, at Griffiss Technology and Business Park — a former

Air Force base — cost $38 million to produce, Scher said during the

event. Besides ticket sales, promoters stood to make money from a

pay-per-view broadcast of the event and from concessions.

Performers included hip-hoppers Wyclef Jean and DMX, singer/songwriters

Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow, and rap-rockers Limp Bizkit, who played

their hit "Nookie" (RealAudio

excerpt).

The festival ended in a riot, during which several trailers were burned,

vendors were looted and equipment was vandalized.

The Griffiss Local Development Corporation, the city of Rome, and Oneida

County received $1 million to host Woodstock '99. But if ticket sales

had topped 200,000, the GLDC would have received an extra $250,000, plus

$5 for each ticket over the 200,000 mark, according to a contract signed

by promoters and the GLDC.

GLDC executive director Steve DiMeo said Friday he was still awaiting

official sales tallies from Ticketmaster. He said he expects to have an

auditor examine Ticketmaster's figures. He also ordered aerial photographs

taken during the concert, and they are being analyzed, he said.

DiMeo, who had not seen Pollstar's figures, said, "I'll have to

see how that meshes with what Ticketmaster sends us and take it from there."