The festival exceeded its own goal of an increase of 50 audience members per concert, set as part of its new Full House initiative. Under the initiative, the festival is aiming to reach full capacity over the next decade. Currently, it is averaging 70 percent of its capacity of 2,300.
"Retention of these new guests is key," festival president Welz Kauffman said in a statement, "We want to do more than just get people to give this music a try. We want to know what we can do to make it a regular part of their lives."
In order to attract and retain new listeners, the festival offered "companion tickets" at 50 percent off, gave some patrons with lawn tickets free upgrades to pavilion seating, asked new audiences members to fill out detailed surveys, and held receptions allowing the new patrons to meet orchestra staff and musicians.
"We learned so much from our Full House guests," Kauffmann said. The festival plans to implement several suggestions made by patrons, including a 10-concert pass.