Speedway: Official attendance figures for Daytona's Country 500 won't be released

DAYTONA BEACH — "Tens of thousands" of people came out to Daytona International Speedway for the Country 500 music festival over Memorial Day weekend, but specific attendance figures are not anticipated to be released, according to a Speedway spokesman.

Spokesman Andrew Booth cited "company policy" in not releasing the attendance figures for the three-day festival in its third year. The first two years of the event, New Orleans-based Festival Productions, Inc. — producer of the event with concert industry giant AEG Live — had released attendance figures of 75,000 each year. Spokespeople for Festival Productions did not respond to News-Journal questions about attendance at this year's event and instead forwarded them to Booth.

"While estimates have been provided in the first two years, that was to give perspective to the scope and size of the event," Booth wrote in an email.

Booth acknowledged the impact of the weather forecast on this year's attendance. Rain fell on concertgoers Saturday evening and on Sunday weather concerns pushed back the opening of the festival gates, leading to DJ Dirty and Runaway June's Sunday performances being canceled.

"Even with a challenging weather forecast for the entire weekend, we had tens of thousands of country music fans enjoying themselves inside the infield of Daytona International Speedway," Booth wrote. "It’s great to see country music fans continue to embrace Country 500 for the third consecutive year."

Local hoteliers reported earlier this week their business was down over the holiday weekend.

“It was a nightmare. The forecasts scared everybody away,” said Bob Davis, president and CEO of the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County. “The weather wasn’t all that bad, but the forecasters didn’t know which way it (Alberto) would go. ... There was nothing (hotels) could do, even if you dropped your rates to almost nothing. If you were a tourist, why would you want to go to a hotel with your kids and spend the whole weekend in your room?”

This year's Country 500 lineup included star country music acts Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington, Chris Stapleton, Sugarland and Toby Keith.

As for the festival returning next year, Booth wrote: "As we do with every event at Daytona International Speedway we are in the process of recapping and reviewing the event."

In previous years, festival promoters had waited different lengths of time before confirming the Country 500’s return. In 2016, they announced in mid-July that the event would return for a second year in 2017. In mid-October 2017, they confirmed that the third year was booked in 2018.

On the eve of this year’s event, Quint Davis, CEO of Festival Productions, told The News-Journal that he wouldn’t consider the festival’s future until after this year’s edition was done.

“You go from year-to-year, go through it and see where you are,” Davis said. “It’s a big business decision, so you look at it and see the path forward. Our contract (with the Speedway) gave us flexibility in decision-making, but it also gave us structure for the long-term. Those are the two things you want.”

Daytona 500 Nascar Hotels

Daytona 500 / Nascar Hotels



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  • 6 Days/ 5 Nights Accommodations at Days Inn Daytona Oceanfront
  • Reserved Sprint Tower Ticket to the Gatorade Duel 150-mile Qualifying Races on Thursday
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  • Reserved Sprint Tower Ticket to the Daytona 300 on Saturday
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Daytona International Speedway


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