Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on September 9, 1972 · Page 15
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Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 15

Alton, Illinois
Issue Date:
Saturday, September 9, 1972
Page 15
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David Cassidy (left) grinds out a song as carnival-style vendors grind out money with souvenirs (right). Festival comment MRF ends most successful season Watermelons (left) appeared nightly as new ref reshmentf orm; Ushers (right) proved helpful to those with tickets, hardnosed to gate crashers. By DOUG THOMPSON Telegraph Arts Editor The 1972 season ended for the 4-year-old Mississippi River Festival and preliminary statistics show this year to be the most successful yet. Attendance topped 194,000 — 55,000 or 40 per cent more than last season and more than double the attendance for the festival's first season in 1969. Financially, all but two of the pop-rock events this season made money and three concerts drew more than 15,000 — 26,000 for Emerson, Lake & Palmer; 22,500 for The Beach Boys and 16,660 for Rare Earth. The season's 12 classical concerts drew 31,175—an average of 2,598 at each concert and an increase of 18 per cent, Although the festival must depend on private and government contributions to keep a balanced budget, the ever- increasing attendance proves that the festival can draw large size audiences with carefully-selected programs of appeal to specific groups. Rock concerts have been the big moneymakers for the festival's four years and help, in part, to supplement the classical concerts by the St. Louis Symphony. The symphony's worst attendance came on Saturday nights, when lesser-known talent is featured and does not have the drawing power of the big - name conductors and soloists who appear with the orchestra on Sunday nights. Attendance, however, continues to grow ajid those who argue that the festival should be self - supporting should look at the Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago which still depends on state and private support after 37 years of existence. Attendance this year shows that people will support the River Festival and that kind of support should only grow in the future. The future, however, is the problem. Unless the festival can continue to find the financial support it needs, the future i.s doubtful. Large crowds at rock concerts paid some of the bill, but not all of it and state and government support is, at best, erratic. At present, the festival is the only Southern Illinois event receiving substantial support from the Illinois Arts Council (they gave $50,000 this year). But even that support is hard to get and is never a sure bet. This year, the festival showed real promise. Next year, hopefully, the Arts Council will look at that promise and react favorably. Rock fans dressed in casual attire marked each event in ihis year's festival. Photos bv *' Doug Thompson and Charlie Cox

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