2018 One Spark Attendance Smolders

Apr 10, 2018

The rebooted and relocated One Spark fell short of its scaled-back goal of drawing 30,000 to 40,000 people for the two-day festival over the weekend.

One Spark still is calculating attendance and doesn’t have an official figure yet, but the organization expects final attendance figures will be less than projected, said Chris Carter, One Spark president told our Florida Times-Union news partner.

As for whether One Spark will continue in 2019, Carter said the focus now is on assessing this year’s festival, which ran Friday and Saturday at Daily’s Place Amphitheater next to EverBank Field.

“Right now, we are catching our breath from the 2018 festival, gathering data, evaluating all aspects of the festival and getting feedback from participants,” he said. “We’ll assess 2019 once 2018 is officially in the books.”

He said the event was a “tremendous success” at One Spark’s core mission of connecting creators — the name for exhibitors — with the community to get feedback and guidance

Before setting a goal of 30,000 to 40,000 attendees for this year’s One Spark, organizers projected 50,000 people would turn out, prompting the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to run a special shuttle service to the stadium for One Spark attendees.

Just 16 people rode the One Spark Bus Shuttle, according to JTA.

Attendees could park at the stadium so the transit ridership figure is not directly comparable to how many people rode the Skyway when One Spark took place on streets and buildings in the downtown core.

At One Spark’s peak, the Skyway provided more than 90,000 trips when the festival packed crowds into downtown. One Spark’s high-water mark was an estimated 300,000 people in 2015 for a multi-day event.

But that model was not financially sustainable for the privately run event, resulting in a slimmed-down, one-day festival along Laura Street in October 2016 that drew an estimated 70,000 people.

Organizers then worked to retool the festival over the past two years and moved it to EverBank Field in a covered area between the football stadium and the Daily’s Place amphitheater.

You can read a longer version of this story on jacksonville.com.