Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

The Summer Event Effect

Bracha Arnold
September 14, 2023
The Summer Event Effect

Summer brings outdoor theater and music festivals to towns and cities across the United States. How do these events impact their host cities? We dove into the data to find out. 

Shakespeare In The Park

Shakespeare in the Park has become a time-honored summer tradition, with cities nationwide (and worldwide) offering complimentary or heavily discounted theater productions. Beyond the cultural significance, these performances can help introduce residents to new neighborhoods and local businesses.

Central Park in downtown Louisville, KY, hosts a summer-long Shakespeare in the Park festival from late May to early August. Examining foot traffic during two twelve-day periods – from July 10th to 21st, during the peak of the festival period, and from August 10th to 21st, when the festival had ended – reveals the festival’s impact. 

Between July 10th and 21st, Central Park’s trade area was almost seven times larger than it was between August 10th and 21st, once the festival had already ended. This indicates that people from all around Louisville – and not just those living near the park – made a special trip to attend the theater performances.

Using STI: Popstats data to analyze the park’s trade during the two periods shows that the Shakespeare in the Park festival didn’t just increase the park’s trade area – the event also shifted the demographics of the park’s visitors. During the festival, visitors to the park came from trade areas with higher median HHIs and larger household sizes when compared to visitors to the park after the event ended. It seems, then, that the festival attracted a more suburban audience from more affluent areas – and offered an opportunity for local businesses and restaurants to introduce themselves to new patrons.

Bonnaroo: Walmart Business Boost 

Bonnaroo is an annual four-day camping and music festival that began in 2002. The festival takes place on a 700-acre farm in pastoral Manchester, TN, population 13,000. But for four days every June, music lovers descend on the town – particularly to its Walmart. 

The Manchester Walmart, aside from serving as a convenient place to pick up last-minute camping gear, snacks, or sunscreen, has also become part of Bonnaroo lore, with festival-goers enthusiastically discussing its merits on Reddit and Inforoo (the unofficial Bonnaroo forum). Unsurprisingly, the superstore experiences a rush of visitors during festival days. And while other local businesses also enjoy the influx of festival-goers, few see the same visit boost as this Walmart. 

Foot traffic data for the Manchester Walmart highlights this boost, with weekly visits during the week of the festival up 44.8% relative to a May 1st 2023 baseline. Meanwhile, the Food Lion next to the store saw only a minor visit spike for the period.  

Visitor journey data further highlights Manchester Walmart’s status as a mecca for Bonnaroo attendees. During the festival (June 14th to 18th), the top destinations from this Walmart were all related to Bonnaroo. In contrast, during a similar four-day period in July, visitor patterns returned to normal, with Walmart shoppers heading to local shopping centers and grocery stores.

Shifts In Festival-Goer Behavior

Lollapalooza is a music lover's dream. The Chicago festival, which takes place in Grant Park, attracts upwards of 400,000 attendees a year with headliners such as Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamar. Each year, some attendees continue into the evening at one of the numerous afterparties hosted in the city’s event spaces. But the pandemic seems to have shifted festival-goers' behavior, with 2023 a larger share of festival goers choosing to come from and return directly to their homes or hotels than in 2019. 2023 Lollapalooza attendees were also less likely to come from one of Chicago’s numerous parks, waterfronts, or landmarks,  

This behavioral shift may stem from this year’s economic headwinds, with festival-goers placing  financial considerations front and center. The cost associated with attending Lollapalooza could be encouraging visitors to head home instead of continuing the party, helping them avoid additional festival-related expenses.

Summer can be a time to gather – and these events show how cities can benefit. From introducing suburbanites to new neighborhoods to the Walmart phenomenon, outdoor events can shape not only individual experiences but also the broader landscape of their host cities.

For more data-driven insights, visit

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Text Link
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap