LANCASTER – While the full numbers aren’t yet in, the main entertainment drew mixed results at the 2018 Lancaster Festivals
Country star Martina McBride’s July 28 concert to close out the Lancaster Festival drew a robust crowd. Former Styx vocalist Dennis DeYoung’s July 21 show did not, however.
Festival executive director Ken Culver said McBride drew about 8,000 to 10,000 people as she performed at Ohio University Lancaster’s Wendel Concert Stage. He noted DeYoung brought more than 4,000 but didn’t reach 5,000.
Those numbers are based on preliminary figures, and Culver said they could go up some when the final count is tallied.
Culver said he didn’t know why the DeYoung show did so poorly. However, there was a threat of storms before the show, and the crowd was evacuated for a short time. The rain was not a significant issue, though, as DeYoung’s show was only delayed by about 10 minutes.
“Dennis DeYoung put on a good show,” Culver said. “He’s 71, but he was acting like someone in their 20s.”
Culver said DeYoung outsold the Mavericks from last year. That show was rained out, but Culver said only about 3,000 had bought advance tickets to it.
Tom Petty tribute act Full Moon Fever also drew about 4,000 for its July 25 concert. While that same number was bad for DeYoung, it was not for Full Moon Fever.
“That is a very good number for a tribute band,” Culver said. “The Full Moon Fever show was strong.”
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He said the Wednesday tribute acts usually do well and pointed to last year’s Fleetwood Mac tribute act, Tusk, which also drew a good crowd.
“Maybe we’re getting the non-orchestra crowd,” Culver said. “Maybe the millennials are coming out to tribute night.”
In most cases, the Lancaster Festival orchestra sits in with the featured acts like McBride, DeYoung and other festival headliners. But the orchestra does not perform with the tribute acts.
Petty died last year, which is one of the reasons the festival organizers chose Full Moon Fever. Culver said Petty’s death no doubt helped spur the attendance.
It was apparent early on that McBride was going to draw a large crowd, as people were camped out far up the hill at the concert site. Some fans have complained that her voice may have been a bit off that night, but Culver pronounced the show a success nonetheless.
“All went well,” he said. “People liked the stage set-up, and she related well to the audience. I think people will overlook a flat note here or there.”
The festival marked the end of Culver’s three-year stint as executive director. He will soon give way to new executive director Deb Connell.