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Corn Palace Festival deemed a success

Nearly 6,000 people attended Corn Palace Festival concerts this year.

That includes the approximately 900 who were at the Hinder/Kory and the Fireflies show Thursday night. While Kory and the Fireflies opened the show, Hinder was unable to perform due to the lead singer's throat problems.

The Corn Palace offered refunds or ticket exchanges for that show, according to Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling. On Monday, a steady stream of people came to the box office to get their money back.

"We could not do anything over the weekend, basically," Schilling said. "We wanted to give people a chance to exchange those tickets for another show."

He said about 200 people apparently did so, while the remaining ticket holders have or will get refunds. Tickets for the show were $35. "We did not give the same seat," Schilling explained. "You could return the ticket for that show and you got the best ticket that was available." He said people were very understanding. John Henglefelt, of Alexandria, was among the people getting refunds Monday.

Henglefelt said he and a friend had planned to see the show. They aren't especially fans of Hinder or that kind of rock music, he said, but they always see a concert during the Corn Palace Festival. Henglefelt said that was the only night they had free, so they couldn't go to a different concert.

"I suppose that's just the way it happens once in a while," he said. The other three concerts all drew good crowds, with some Hinder fans switching their tickets to see shows on other nights, Schilling said.

• The Thompson Square/Frankie Ballard concert on Friday night drew 1,414 people. Tickets were $30 and Thompson Square, the headliner, was paid $37,500.

• The Charlie Daniels Band/Doo-Wah Riders show on Saturday had 1,505 people in attendance. Tickets were $35. Charlie Daniels was paid $40,000.

• The final festival performance drew the largest crowd, as 2,154 people packed the Palace to see the Happy Together Tour, which featured '60s pop acts. Tickets were $40 and the acts were paid $50,000 in total.

Since the band did not perform, Hinder was not paid its $50,000. Kory and the Fireflies was paid $2,000.

Some of the people at the concerts were there with sponsor tickets or tickets claimed through contests and other avenues, so final paid attendance is still being compiled.

Schilling said he is still figuring out how well the 2012 Corn Palace Festival did financially. He said once the refunds are made, he will total the ticket figures and also plans to add in the Billy Currington and Jake Owen concert, which is set for Sept. 14. Tickets are $49.

All those figures, plus concession sales and other revenue, will be compiled into a Corn Palace Festival report that Schilling will make to the City Council in October.

The September show will replace the lack of a Wednesday show this year, since a free show was offered on that night this year.

Overall, Schilling said, it was a strong year.

Carnival attendance was good, even with the rides and sideshows opening on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, as it did last year. Vendors reported brisk sales.

"I think it will be a good year for the festival," Schilling said. "Overall, we've been pleased with the three days of shows and the way things went."