Following the successful free Richard Marx concert in Andover Central Park on June 22, the Andover Convention and Visitors Bureau is now analyzing the available data for consideration of building a permanent amphitheater in the park.
The concert was an experiment to determine if there would be interest in an amphitheater in Andover and to test crowd control and traffic for a large event.
CVB Chair and Mayor Ben Lawrence said that an estimated 5,000 people attended the Marx concert. He said that number is right on par with what they were expecting.
"We're still analyzing all of the data," Lawrence said. "We'll look at aerial photos, zip codes of attendees to see where they came from, continue discussions with local business owners to see how they feel the concert impacted them. The local businesses were booming before and after the concert. Not knowing all the facts, we feel very confident the concert brought us the results we were looking for."
City Council Member and liaison to the CVB Kris Estes assisted in some initial analysis of the zip codes and other information that was collected at the concert.
Concert attendees were asked to fill out a brief form that asked for their name, phone number, zip code and whether they would support an amphitheater in Andover.
The filled-out slips were then entered into a drawing.
The name and phone number were only used to notify the winner of the drawing. The zip code and answer to the amphitheater question were entered into a database for further analysis.
Estes said 540 entries were received. Of those, 519 said they would support an amphitheater in Andover, 11 answered no. There was one maybe and nine didn't answer.
From the analysis of the provided zip codes, Estes said 30 percent were from Andover and the remaining 70 percent were from outside of Andover.
Many were from the greater Wichita area. And some concert attendees came from much further away.
"Several groups were from along the I-70 corridor, up to and including Kansas City. A group from Omaha, Neb. came the farthest. There was a group from near Joplin, Mo. and as far out west as Dodge City, Kan.," Estes said.
Lawrence said that in speaking to concert attendees, he found people came in from western Kansas, Kansas City, Oklahoma City and as far away as Ohio.
"We're mostly interested in the regional draw," Lawrence explained. "We're looking at the greater Wichita metropolitan area, in the tri-county region. We got a lot of people that don't live in Andover but live within a 30-mile radius."
At one point during the concert, Marx said hello to Andover and it was met with cheering. Then he said hello to Wichita and there was an even bigger cheer.
Page 2 of 2 - "That told me that more people were from Wichita than Andover. Which was our goal. Our goal was to bring visitors who don't live in our community into our community," said Lawrence.
Feedback from the public has been positive.
"Everyone that was present had a darned good time," Lawrence said. "Frankly, that's what we're looking for. Adding quality of life to our residents and giving them something to do and some place to go."
Estes added that after months of planning, she felt the event turned out well.
"Since the planning meetings began back in February of this year, the enthusiasm of the members of the Andover CVB and the City staff was paramount to the success of the event," Estes said. "The meetings were productive and although many things changed along the way, it was always for the better. It turned out to be a great family night out in the park!"
Considering the size of the crowd, there were no problems from a police or traffic perspective.
"There were practically zero concerns with crowd control," Lawrence said. "There was one minor incident of people shouting at each other. But no fights and no reported thefts. In general, we thought the concert went very well."
The CVB and City plan to take their time with discussions and a decision on a potential amphitheater in Andover.
"What we're going to do is still a mystery. We are still trying to gather data from this concert and try to make a determination if this type of concept would be feasible to do in Andover on a long-term basis," said Lawrence.
"In other words, would it be plausible to build a permanent amphitheater in Andover. And no decision has been made," he continued.
The CVB is spearheading this potential project with approval from the City.
Lawrence said he expects a formal recommendation probably within six months.
"Over the winter months, we can slow down and reflect on how the event went," he said. "I'm looking forward to those discussions."