Koka Booth Amphitheatre had another solid concert season in 2017 – one that added up to a profit for the venue for the second straight year.
In figures released by the town of Cary, Booth’s national concerts and N.C. Symphony Summerfest drew paid attendance of 56,418 people this year. Throw in 13,137 for the free Fourth of July celebration with the N.C. Symphony, and a total of 69,575 came through the gates for 21 events.
Owned by the town of Cary, Booth has been a concert venue since 2001. Its high-water year remains 2016, with 70,120 in paid attendance.
Last year was also the first that Booth produced a concert surplus, of $76,177. For 2017, the concert surplus is projected to be even higher: $82,746, according to Town of Cary cultural arts manager Lyman Collins.
Heading up this year’s list, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Paul Simon and country-rocker Sturgill Simpson both drew near-capacity crowds to the amphitheater, which holds 7,000. The Americana-friendly pairing of Alison Krauss and David Gray drew just short of 5,000 people, with John Mellencamp and Charlie Daniels Band’s “Carolina Uprising” also attracting solid crowds.
The symphony’s annual Summerfest accounted for both the largest and smallest crowds at Booth this year. The July 4 celebration, which had expanded capacity with the house turning over several times, drew an unpaid crowd of more than 13,000. But a Beethoven program came in at fewer than 900.
BOOTH AMPHITHEATRE 2017 ATTENDANCE
6,494 - Paul Simon (June 7)
6,405 - Sturgill Simpson (July 8)
4,960 - Alison Krauss & David Gray (Sept. 24)
3,465 - John Mellencamp (June 28)
3,316 - Charlie Daniels Band/Carolina Uprising (Oct. 21)
3,144 - Chris Tomlin (Oct. 22)
3,060 - Willie Nelson (July 14)
2,667 - Jeff Foxworthy & Larry the Cable Guy (Sept. 16)
2,262 - 2Cellos (Sept. 19)
1,536 - Jackie Gore & North Tower Band (July 15)
1,247 - Garrison Keillor (Sept. 15)
N.C. Symphony Summerfest (*free show)
*13,137 - July 4 Celebration (July 4)
3,296 - Music of U2 (July 7)
2,595 - Steep Canyon Rangers (June 30)
2,502 - Space Spectacular (June 10)
2,073 - Romantic Broadway (June 3)
1,829 - Appalachian Spring (July 1)
1,638 - Play with the Pros (May 27)
1,578 - An Evening in France (June 17)
1,479 - Classics Under the Stars (June 9)
892 - Beethoven (June 24)
69,575 - total, 56,418 paid