NEW ULM - With the dust settling from Bavarian Blast 2012, organizers are taking stock of the results, but are very pleased with the turnout for this year's festival.
Bavarian Blast President Paul Sabatino said the attendance and revenue figures are being crunched and will be presented at a wrapup meeting to the board next week, but this year's festival exceeded last year's attendance "by far."
"It was better all the way around. Attendance was way up. Mollie B packed the place on Friday, Alex Meixner packed it every show he did, Hitchville on Saturday night... We've had people contacting us and e-mailing us asking how they can get ahold of these bands. They liked what they saw and want to hire them somewhere else."
Last year's attendance was down in large part because of the oppressive heat and humidity.
"Heat was not a factor this year," Sabatino said. "Maybe because it was so hot for so long people got used to it, but we did a better job of combatting the heat, setting up fans and making use of buildings. The people in the polka hall were happy because it was nice and cool in there. The tent was comfortable, and if someone needed to get into the air conditioning to cool off we had the Civic Center right there where they could look at the craft show."
The festival operations were moved to the southern end of the fairgrounds this year, and it worked out well, said Sabatino.
"People think we downsized, but we really didn't, we sort of squished it closer together to create a warm, fuzzy atmosphere," said Sabatino.
The old home reunion atmosphere was very evident throughout the festival, said Sabatino.
"People were hanging around the midway, and the road outside, visiting and talking. Friends were talking to friends and neighbors, people from out of town were talking with the locals, everyone was visiting. And the music was pretty good, too."
With the attendance way up and the steps taken to cut expenses keeping costs down, Sabatino is pretty confident that Bavarian Blast will be back again, but he's waiting for the final figures to come before the board.
"I keep saying I'm 99 percent sure, but we'll just have to wait until we see the final numbers," he said.