The Longacres Report
Allentown Crowd Count for 2004
(go to end of article for detailed information on our 2002 Allentown Crowd Count which was extensively reported by the media)
Allen Town Arts Festival
Crowd Estimate prepared by
Longacres, Inc. 6-13-04
A two person team from Longacres visited the Allentown Arts Festival between 1PM and 2:30 PM on Sunday, June 13th 2004. There was a great crowd, plenty of fine people watching and wonderful exhibits. The crowd was big enough to be exciting but not so big that it was hard to park or hard to move around. Congratulations to the Allentown management on a great festival. As some editorial writers and op-ed letters have said, since the festival was a great success, there is nothing to be gained by specifying the exact size of the crowd.
But since you asked:
The Longacres team did a careful, actual count of the crowd between 1PM and 2:30 PM and arrived at an actual crowd size of 8,730 people in the festival area on Delaware, Allen, Virginia, Edward, and Franklin Streets. Our margin of error based on differences between two experienced enumerators counting the same grid area ranged between less than one percent in easily counted areas up to 14.2% in more congested festival areas. The average discrepancy between the two enumerators was 5.91%.
Additionally, there was some error in counting block grids when the flow of the crowd was moving towards the enumerator. We did two tests with a control subject walking with the flow of the crowd while an enumerator walked in the opposite direction counting people until they met. Our best estimate is that an enumerator walking against the flow of the crowd will OVERCOUNT by up to 20% in a long block. Most of the crowd on Delaware Ave was counted in this manner, so the total of 5400 people we counted on Delaware may be as much as 20% higher than the actual crowd. We certainly did not undercount on Delaware.
Error on Allen West of Delaware
The most congested part of the festival area and the hardest to count is the long block between Delaware and Elmwood on Allen Street. Although the discrepancy between our two enumerators was only 5.1% on this block, both enumerators had their lowest level of confidence in their counts on that block. When we last did this crowd study in 2002, we suggested a 60% margin of error for the count on this block. We think we were better this year, but we have the least confidence of all block counts for our estimate of 575 people at one time in this block.
We did not survey festival attendees this year about how long they stayed. But our 2002 study showed the average person stayed 3.53 hours, indicating that the total crowd is likely to turn over three times during the day of the festival. Hence we multiply our count of people at the festival at one moment in time by three to indicate hopw many different people attended the festival during the day. That would indicate that 26,190 people were at Allentown on Sunday, June 13th.
Total for the weekend:
We did not visit and count on Saturday, but viewed various media reports and pictures. The Saturday crowd appeared similar to the one we counted Sunday. If correct, this would indicate a total attendance at Allentown of 52,380 different people.
Compared to June, 2002:
We did a careful study of the Allentown Crowd size on Saturday, June 8, 2002. Our crowd estimate for the same time of day on that day was 10,080, indicating a total number of different festival goers of 30,240 for the day, or 60,480 for the weekend. This would indicate that the 2004 festival had about 13.3% fewer people than attended the 2002 Festival. Longacres did not count the crowd in 2003.
For Questions, call Thomas Kranz 716-652-9495
1529 Mill Street, East Aurora, NY 14052
or visit www.longacres.com/allen.htm
The Longacres Report:
Crowd Estimate for Allentown Art Festival, Saturday, June 8th
10,080 is best estimate for crowd at 2PM Saturday, based on below figures
11,937 is estimate allowing for "up side" margin of error
"How long are you staying?" survey indicates crowd turned over 3 times, resulting in estimated total Saturday attendance of 30,240 or a max estimate of 35,811
NOTE ON RESPONSE FROM ALLENTOWN :
The Buffalo News story on Tuesday morning quotes Mary M. Myszkiewicz from the Allentown Village Society as saying, "He’s not realizing that it’s a moving crowd. It’s moving all day long with different faces."
In fact, our count very clearly and carefully takes the above fact into consideration. The individual "grid" or block counts were done taking the flow of the crowd into account, and our margin of error also recognizes that movement along the street.
The fact that "different faces were there all day long" is accurately reflected by our projection that the crowd turned over three times during the day, based on interviews with festival goers asking how long they were spending at the event.
Based on our careful count of the crowd at 2PM Saturday, the only way the total crowd could have reached 330,000 as claimed would be for it to have turned over more than 30 times. If one assumes that the festival had a statistically significant crowd from 10AM to 6PM, all 10,000 plus people that were there at any one time would have to have arrived, looked over the whole festival, and left every 16 minutes. That is a logistic impossibility.
Crowd count at 2:00 PM Saturday:
7760 = Delaware between W. Tupper and North
actual count on Delaware Ave between W. Tupper and North Streets = 7760 +/- 15% = (1164 margin of error) max of 8924; min of 6596
1020 = Allen, Franklin, Virginia east of Delaware
actual count on Allen, Franklin, and Virginia east of Delaware = 1020 +/- 15% = (153 margin of error) max of 1173; min of 867
900 = Allen west of Delaware
actual count on Allen west of Delaware = 900 +/- 60% (crowds were bunched in narrow street and uneven. Our best estimate is a 60% margin of error. ) (540 margin of error) max of 1440; min of 360
400 = additional on nearby Elmwood
additional: the streets immediately adjacent to the festival were canvassed, and were very sparsely populated. Exception = Elmwood avenue just north of Allen could be considered art festival crowd, and 300 to 400 people were on Elmwood relatively close to Allen.
Crowd Density per 100 feet estimate
Estimate based on crowd density on Delaware Avenue at 2:30 PM:
Three 100 foot sections of Delaware at different locations were measured off, and the people in that 100 foot grid carefully counted. Average was 170 people per linear 100 feet on Delaware at this time of day. The distance from W. Tupper to North Street on Delaware was closely estimated at 3450 feet.
170 people in100 feet * 34.5 = 5865 people NOTE: this figure is about 10% below our "low estimate" based on actual count of 6596
Survey of average length of stay
We conducted a random survey in the crowd asking, "Please estimate approximately how many hours you will spend at the festival today total?"
The average of all respondants was 3.53 hours.
We do not have enough data to determine when the crowd reached its mid day size, or how late in the evening this crowd size was sustained.
We think it is a reasonable guess that the crowd turned over three times during the day Satuday
1) margin of error: we determine margin of error in crowd counts by doing multiple counts of selected areas and determining the variation. This is translated to a percent margin of error applied to the full count.
2) counting methodology: although our preferred counting method is to take photographs of crowds from above, divide those photo’s into grids and do actual grid counts, this was not practical at the Allentown Festival. Our enumerator took one block at a time, walked against the flow of the crowd doing an actual count of the people on that side of the street. This figure was doubled to give a count for each block. The flow of the bulk of the crowd was fairly quick on Saturday, and we took that into account in each block. If anything, we over-estimated slightly because the crowd on the side being counted was moving into the block during the count.
On Allen street and the other side streets, an actual count of the full street was taken.
3) People in buildings: The bulk of the crowd was on Delaware Avenue and outdoors. On the side streets, especially Allen street, many were in galleries or eating establishments. Our count includes those easily visible from the street in buildings. There is some undercount on Allen street considering several hundred persons not counted who were not visible from the street.
What About Sunday?
Longacres was not available to do any actual survey on Sunday. We estimate that the streets and exhibits could reasonably be expected to hold double Saturday’s crowd, but any more than that would lead to grid-lock in this area. We doubt that more than 70,000 people could fit in the space being used Saturday.
Conclusion - Where are those 400,000 people?
The Allentown Art Festival has widely reported an attendance of 400,000 people. We consider those figures highly inflated, based on this study.
Who are We?
Longacres is a sports management company based in East Aurora, NY We manage many outdoor sports events where we are paid a percentage of the gate for our services. We have a strong incentive to be good at estimating crowds. We became interested in estimating public event crowds after the City of Buffalo announced that 30,000 people attended the first Super Bowl Welcome Home rally for the Bills. At the time, our analysis of public photographs of that crowd indicated a true attendance of 8500, plus or minus 30% margin of error.
The following year we made arrangements with the director of security at the Federal Court house on Niagara Square to take us on the roof so that we could carefully photograph the crowd at the second Bills Superbowl Rally. We had excellent documentation of this crowd from a perfect vantage point. The actual attendance was 2400 with a margin of error of only 8%. The announced crowd estimate from official sources varied from 8000 to 15,000.
Information submitted by:
Thomas Kranz, Pres.
1529 Mill Road
East Aurora, NY 14052