I’ve heard that question from lots of people who aren’t able to be with us this week, so I wanted to attempt an answer. I don’t have any insider info on actual attendance, but the size of the crowd met my expectations and has been growing during the week. I’d venture a guess that it’s 20% smaller than last year.
The campgrounds are much less full than in years past, but the official stage tents are drawing good crowds during the day (despite the heat) and packing out at night. Night crowds at both the Gallery and the Underground filled the tent and spilled outside into the relatively more cool night breeze, with fans of Iona and Squad Five-O clearly being happy to see old favorites once again. Lines to get merch after bands like the 77s and Icon for Hire have often been long, with fans wanting to show appreciation for bands who’ve come a long ways to play for free. Attendance at the afternoon arts seminars has been strong, especially for Glenn Kaiser’s cigar-box guitars class.
I haven’t made it to any of the morning seminars nor the Imaginarium yet, so I can’t say how those are. Some generator bands are drawing solid crowds (such as New Band Showcase acts like Carielle, The Bends, and Doug Mains & the City Folk or Sean Michel on the Arkansas Stage), though some others have the typically small crowds I’ve come to expect for bands nobody has really heard of and nobody knows what they sound like.
Overall, I think attendance is down (naturally) but there are still a lot of people here to give Cornerstone a nice send-off.