Why ruin a totally cool event with fraudulent crowd counts?
Simply said, there’s no effing way the new, 3.400 seat Kauffman Performing Arts Center hosted 55,000 people at its open house Sunday.
I mean, think about it.
That’s nearly double the size of the Plaza Lighting Ceremony. More people than attend sold out Royals games, which have acres of parking and dozens of police and staff to manage and control the traffic and crowds.
All of that said, here’s what the Star’s Robert Truseell reported:
"Nobody can know with certainty how many people actually walked through the center Sunday, but an estimate of 55,000 was based on the assumption that the building could only accommodate 5,000 at a time. If that number ‘turned over’ 10 times, then total attendance would be 50,000, which was the official estimate by midafternoon. Later, (Kauffman CEO Jane Chu) upped the figure to 55,000."
Hold it right there…
A woman with "bachelors and masters degrees in piano performance, music education, and piano pedagogy" is suddenly a considered expert in crowd counting? A statistician, if you will.
Even though by her own explanation she didn’t even attempt to count the crowd – undoubtedly because she was a little busy helping oversee an extremely large event with several entertainers on multiple stages.
Instead, Chu ventured a guess and the Star "reported" it.
Now here’s how the story gets retold "around the campfire."
Even though Trussell’s reporting on Chu’s estimate was bogus, he did at least attempt to cover his ass somewhat by saying up front in the story that the number was only "thousands," before later laying out Chu’s whacky "estimate."
That unfortunately didn’t prevent St. Louis Dispatch classical music critic Sarah Bryan Miller from re-reporting Chu’s estimate while incorrectly attributing it to Trussell.
"According to an article by Robert Trussell in today’s Kansas City Star, an estimated 55,000 people came downtown to the Kauffman on a rainy day, some waiting as long as 90 minutes to get in," Miller writes.
See how the game is played – how history sometimes get miswritten?
Now I’m going to give you a crowd estimate by someone in the entertainment biz in Kansas City with a ton of experience both working at and producing large events at area venues. An individual who spent the entire day Sunday at the PAC on the payroll helping produce the event:
"It was a very impressive crowd, no doubt. But realistically, I would say the size of the crowd was closer to 20,000 people, not 55,000 – no way. If they really wanted to know the crowd size, why didn’t they just count the people at the door. There were only three entrances, it would have been easy."
I will add, you can bet what’s left of the remaining value of your Chiefs season tix, they’ll be counting people at those turnstiles for the paid events.