SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Nelly was a big draw for fans and their money at the Sioux Empire Fair this year, fair association and W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds president and chief executive officer Scott Wick said.
Nelly, a rapper, singer and actor, performed on Tuesday, Aug. 9. Wick said the performer helped grow the fair’s gross income by about $389,000 over 2021.
The fair’s net profit for 2022 was nearly $500,00.
Grandstand ticket sales brought in $268,140.58. Tickets for the Nelly concert ranged from a reported $25 to $64.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Wick said. “We’ve been predominately country with some classic rock.”
But Nelly drew a crowd. “He put on a heck of a show. He’s a very good entertainer,” Wick said.
Wick said Sioux Empire has been asked by at least three other fairs within a 300 mile radius about how the Nelly concert went.
Nelly and his staff were “very easy to work with,” Wick said. “It was a very, very good night.”
Wick said the fees from online ticket sales option helped increase revenue. The fair also sold a lot of concert pit passes for the concert and concession sales were also good.
As to whether or not the fair would bring in another ticketed non-country or non-classic rock performer like Nelly to the lineup, Wick said it would “absolutely” be considered.
Nelly and Old Dominion were the two ticketed grandstand acts.
Wick said it’s likely the fair will consider the hybrid of ticketed acts and non-ticketed acts for grandstand entertainment because the non-ticket concerts have been going well too.
The fairgrounds is an outdoor stage and grandstand. “One horrible day of weather can adversely affect us,” Wick said. If the horrible weather happens on a day with a ticketed event and the concert is canceled, that’s tough on revenue, he said.
The admission price of $10 for those 13 covered other grandstand concerts at the fair such as Sawyer Brown.
The general admission to the fair at $10 for those 13 and older and $5 for those 6 to 12, was part of nearly $1 million in revenue that include admission tickets, camping and carnival. The exact total was $946,176.86.
Wick said the contract between the midway carnival and the fair association is private by the fair receives a portion of sales and it can increase as sales increase. “It did very well,” he said of the carnival.
Camping was also part of the $946,176.86. Wick has noted the number of campers who stay at the fairgrounds during the fair to watch the concerts and participate in the fair.
Wick said a goal is to have concert goers come early and buy food, beverages, carnival ride tickets and spend money on other items.
The fair association needs to spend its own money too.
The fair spent $673,763.07 and a large part of that was for grandstand entertainment. The expense for grandstand entertainment totaled $407,298.71.
Payroll is the second largest expense at $169,007.55.
In all the fair had $1,334,843.95 in expenses and $1,834,001.24 in revenue for a net profit of $499,157.92.