Total attendance for the 10-week summer season‹which ended Sunday, September 6‹was 321,998. Last year's festival drew 362,093.
In a statement, BSO media relations director Bernadette Horgan blamed an extra-rainy summer and a decline in tourism nationally for the drop, as well as a change in the festival's volunteer ticket policy. For the first time this year, the BSO offered volunteers passes instead of individual tickets to specific shows.
"In the past we included volunteer tickets in our season attendance report," Horgan said, "but since passes are undated and thus not easily tracked, we could no longer accurately count the number of volunteer visitors."
Many of the programs at this year's festival attracted large crowds. Jazz vocalist Diana Krall's July 4 performance set the season's high for attendance, drawing 14,534 fans. Other programs‹including a "John Williams Film Night" with the Boston Pops; an all-Mozart program with conductor Christof Perick and pianist Christian Zacharias; a performance by Broadway star Kristen Chenoweth; and a live radio broadcast of Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, drew crowds of more than 10,000 apiece.
Horgan said the orchestra hopes that attendance numbers rebound next year, which will mark the first Tanglewood season for conductor James Levine. Levine will make his debut as music director for the orchestra this October, replacing Seiji Ozawa, who left the BSO in 2002.