Today: Source Says Kauffman Performing Arts Center Crowd 20,000 Not 55,000


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.
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19 Responses to Today: Source Says Kauffman Performing Arts Center Crowd 20,000 Not 55,000

  1. smartman says:

    Counting Crows Feet
    Somebody, somewhere, maybe here….Orphan? Rainbow Man? stated that when they entered the building the facility staff member at the entrance had a clicker and told them they had counted 14,000 people at that point. Take that number times the 3 entrances and you could ASSUME that with folks still in the queue that 55K might be a realistic number.

    Like you,I think it’s all bullshit just based on the total venue capacity, people not just walking through, many taking seats and watching performances. The fact that the STAR didn’t question or challenge the number is LAME, but to be expected.

    I have not visited but I hear it is an incredible venue.

    Despite all the PROPAGANDA about it being a NATIONAL TREASURE it’s not going to substantively change the quality of our local performing arts groups or arts scene. Oh, they say it will kinda like the SC was a shoe-in for an NBA or NHL franchise.

    Face it, no one with any world class talent dreams of growing up to play in the KC Symphony, dance for the KC ballet or sing for the Lyric Opera. Unless Kanye West gets a pop series invite KPAC will be enjoyed by a very small portion of the metro, basically the swells; trust fund baby’s, doctors that perform unnecessary surgery and glorified ambulance chasers.

    It will be interesting to see how the diversity card is played to assuage the Black and Latino communities.

    Maybe one side can be reserved for gang grafitti and the other for Jesu Christo y Maria murals?

    Hopefully KPAC won’t have the same impact on Los Tules that Sprint Center had on Ragland Road.

    Maybe Julia Kaufman can start working on fulfilling her fathers dream of a SECOND WORLD SERIES and figure out a way to buy the Royals back from David Glass. That would be of far greater benefit to the metro than KPAC will EVER be.

  2. harley says:

    Smartman not so smart…Hernia another stupid post…
    Smartman…been to the center yet. We went there sunday and waited for an hour. There easily could have been 50,000 people.
    Hernia…who’s this great source you come up with. And for you two losers…who really cares or give a fuck.
    Smartman has to find something to tie into the Kauffmans and be negative. It’s not enough that they have given hundreds of
    millions of dollars to this project and others at educating and providiung college for underpriviledged kids. It’s not enough that
    when someone needed to stand up and bring a pro team to this city mr. K stood up when others would not.
    It wasn’t enough that the Kauffmans (YOU Stupid shit hernia…its with 2 f’s)…have led this city thru some of their
    hardest years and while construction on major projects in kc dwindled think of the spur and rush to the local economy thi9s
    project provided during tough economic times.
    No hernia..we expected this from you. But noone in the lines there gave a shit how many people came. Everyone came to see
    what a great family contributed to this town…without any asking for thanks or any need to reciprocate.
    No hernia…when those 20,000 or 50,000 walked in there was Julia talking and taking pics with people who came to see
    what is considered now one of the most advanced performing arts centers in the world. It’s beautiful. and noone except you
    really gave a fuck how many ppeople came…its was just to admire what the family did for this city.
    You hang out in nasty dungy places like jardines and blanc burgers. You hang with nasty disgusting people. So this may not
    interest you because you’re used to shit. A city is not known for its parties or its bars or it’s low lifes. Great cities have great
    attractions. Get out more often hearne and smartman.
    I guess that neither of you went on sunday. I know smartman didn’t.
    Smartman brings up a 25 year old issue…the royals. Smartman…thats old news…you’re old news…they sold the team to the
    only liegitimate bidder. We could have lost the team and never had them in kc. would that have been better. You are an idiot.
    Hernia….it was free…not paid attendance. At the expense of the center….it is magnificent.
    will they have 50 cents or west there…probably not.
    But this center will bring some class (which you have none of) to this city. Its a jewel for this town. It’s got comedians and
    great singers and ballet and what appears to be some incredible acts coming to perform.
    go hang with your buddy glazzer at the strip clubs…hang with the black hookers and hos and barbie and betty and hang with
    yoour buddy and shoot pics of hos asses. That’s not class…thats the low life existence.
    The Kauffman family has done more for this city than any other person/family. they stood up and provided the city with
    what will be an incredible venue. Mr. and Mrs. K were stellar for our town.
    Only you can try to shit on something so great. But i expected this from you. Now go get the nude photos of your
    asian and black girls….thats what you do best.
    Everyone should go see this center. Its a monument to the incredible legacy that the family has left here in kc. It’s
    a showpiece that is testament to what americans should be about. Mr. K was an incredible businessman…he
    achieved financial success and used that to make our city better. He was innovative…and more than generous with
    his billions of dollars. We don’t see that anymore. Rich people are for themselves these days. Mr. K was a hero.
    Don’t denigrate the greatness of what this family has done for us…don’t downplay and try to make an issue of the
    team and its huge impact on our city.
    Now…get your smartphone and post some more pics of black crack!

  3. smartman says:

    Cough Man! Cough!
    No one is denigrating the Kauffman’s ASSWIPE.
    Facts are facts though. No way 55,000 folks made the walk-thru.

    So yeah, KPAC was Muriel’s dream but it was EWING’S MONEY! He brought a BASEBALL TEAM to town not the goddamned NY Philharmonic or The Boston Pops.

    Ewing Kauffman was “everyman”, not some uptight poofboy cunt. I know several people who used to regularly hang with him at the Kansas City Club. He wasn’t entirely fond of all the “KC Society” crowd.

    So unless KPAC is going to commission a musical called EASTSIDE STORY or SOMBRERO OVER THE RAINBOW, the folks that Mr. K was so passionate about helping the most are going to be virtually shut out from KPAC.

    I’m sure when David Glass passes away Mr.K has dibs on him before St. Peter or Beelzebub!

  4. PB says:

    Love How Hearne’s
    Unidentified source is so much more credible than the others who estimated the crowd size. “Someone” in the entertainment business? We must protect this Deep Throat-level source, naming him would put other hard-hitting crowd estimate stories in jeopardy! And how is perhaps a slightly embellished 50K estimate DOUBLE the Plaza Lights estimates when those are often listed in the hundreds of thousands? Shitty math, KC Confidentilal. The pack near 20,000 for some 2-3 hour events at SC, the lines are much shorter, people…gasp…are actually able to park near the event and somehow, it’s illogical that they maybe doubled that number for an ALL-DAY event in the same area?

    Semantics on the numbers, who gives shit? Jeezuz, are we really going to dwell on this inconsequential story when despite all your negativity towards anything positive that happens in this city, the PAC open house was a ROUSING success. Big deal, The Star has an agenda here, at least in this case, there’s comes from a positive place, unlike you comparing this miscount stroy to some Stephen Glass-level journalistic scandal. Sorry to disappoint you and your efforts to take potshots at your old paper, but on the plus side, at least these frivolous posts will perhaps keep another Chiefs bashing thread off the front page.

  5. Chris Fritz says:

    I can count
    I’d say it was slightly larger than Kanrockas……maybe 5000 people.

  6. Johnny S says:

    One down , 4002 to go
    Whew… we were really worried about this…. it is a good thing this conspiracy was finally outted…now it is time to get to work on the conspiiracy videos on youtube showing tests/ proof/ evidence that the WTC could not be fallen by jet fuel alone (jet fuel and office furniture does not burn hot enought to melt steel)

    UNCOVER THE TRUTH…it is out out there…go get em Mulder (aka Hank Moody)

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    Gotta tell you, Harley – don’t have time to read your full post – but your are not even a real person under this monicker of yours. And being an anonymous guy standing in line for an hour in the rain in no way qualifies you as an expert in crowd counting.

    I have actually done it on several occasions and understand the complexity of it. Twice I did it with the aid of the UMKC statistics department. And several times I have interviewed the top police officials in the area who say even they have no expertise or training in the matter.

    What qualifies you oh soggy one?

    My source is someone I’ve known for years – and see all the time working at events at both indoor and outdoor venues. A person who spent the entire day helping produce this very event. I’m not going to out him and get him trouble with the PAC to amuse you. Are you kidding?

    Read the story again and if you’re still have trouble understanding it, email me at and I’ll try and walk you thru it.

  8. Hearne Christopher says:

    You gotta actually read, PB. There were no “others,” it was Chu. And there was no count taken. My source is a person who i’ve known for years. Actually, he didn’t even go off the record with me on this, but I want to protect him from himself since he’ll undoubtedly be working at the PAC again.

    You are totally out of it on the Plaza lights numbers. This was covered and reported by me including with front page attribution in the Kansas City Star. Those numbers were phoney and when confronted with an actual count of 30,000 and change the Plaza and KCP&L backed completely away and ceased using them.

    Now there have been a couple dummies on TV that uttered them and got hammered afterwards. So two times 30,000 is reasonably close to 55,000.

    Good thing you didn’t sign your real name to this one!

  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    Go Johnny, go!

  10. harley says:

    read my post hernia…makes more sense than you
    more hit stories….
    smartman…i knew mr. k…and you are wrong again. You heard..i heard…they said…they whispered..
    you sound like hernia….
    Were you or smartman at the event? If not you can’t speak for what was there.
    And hernia…now that you’ve been relegated to a third class writer in almost everyone’s opinion….now that you don’t
    have the star to carry your full of bull stories…now that you carry noclout….we see you’ve turned negative
    on everything in this town.
    Put the silver sppon in your mouth…go down to woodside with your asian and black girlies….get some more
    ass shots of hos and move on.
    Your sources are very suspect…much like your dong buddy glazer….now go get your smart phone and
    grab glazer and get some of the chinese servers he pimps out for parties…yea…thats the ticket.
    and smartman…you are first class loser….you talked with…you heard from…another full fleged first class
    get your head out of your ass. I knew mr. k…and you never did.
    Now hernia…go get that smartphone and get some photos of asian/black chicks hitting it….
    complete disaster this site is becoming

  11. smartman says:

    We are talking about Ewing KAUFFMAN not Ewing HOFFMAN, the Gay Jew semen demon that you used to blow.after he plumbed your pooper.

    Who knew you were the first to practice Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?

    Bad enough you can’t spell properly seems you’ve got some issues on the input end too.

  12. PB says:

    Guess I wasn’t privy to those new and improved Plaza numbers…last I heard was the 20 years of Woodstock-like estimates. Haven’t been down there for a lighting ceremony in about the same amount of years so can’t speak from experience on any of those numbers. Still, 20K…50K…does any of this really matter? All I know is there were a buttload of people there, representing a true cross-section of this city’s population more than any other area event that I can recall. Granted, many of those same folks (myself included) may never or at least rarely attend a paid event at the PAC, but the big (and yes, it was BIG) turnout still proves that there is a ton of interest in the building itself and what it means to this city. Can we at least wait until the joint runs into financial problems or roving bands of street thugs go wilding on the black-tied patrons of the arts before shitting on the place?

    I’ll be sure an bring my abacus to the P&L this Sunday so I can get a more accurate count for the Morris Day & The Time show and e-mail you those numbers so there will be no discrepancy in what can be your next bean-counting expose. 🙂

  13. Hearne Christopher says:

    Yes, sir!

  14. Hearne Christopher says:

    It’s a lot easier to estimate a crowd inside a venue when you know exactly how many seats there are.

    Take Arrowhead Stadium. That’s how Wizards fans and sports writers were able to detect the bogus crowd counts the Wizards put out all those years. Supposedly including sold tickets and no shows.

    The Plaza Lighting Ceremony was a ton of work. Grids were drawn and measured. Crowd density was physically and visually counted – and yes – estimated. Teams of UMKC statistics students fanned out across the entire Plaza counting pockets of people. And the numbers were thus determined.

    The Plaza also had a habit (and still does) of lying about how many lights there are and how long they might stretch from end-to-end. So Waldo businessman Gary Evert went back the next year, going building to building, tree to tree and pared that number down to a fraction of what the Plaza had claimed.

    I recall speaking to workers who said they’d been told by the Plaza not to discuss those details with media.

    Just got off the phone with Brian McTavish. We were talking about the 55,000 number and he was astounded by how ridiculous it was. I think you know the Brian covered thousands of shows and events in his 30 years at the Star in entertainment writing and reporting.

    He also remembered former Star editor Mark Zieman’s memo to all reporters and editors forbidding us from reporting crowd estimates without actual, verified, hard numbers. That after the Pitch embarrassed the newspaper several years back on an anti war rally at the Nichols fountain on the Plaza.

  15. Rainbow Man says:

    There were 50 k easy
    There were 50K… No doubt in my mind. Everyone in line was calculating. The door had a click count of 14k at 5 pm and there were 3 doors. There were shuttles running in there…. There were food trucks outside… I bet they have to clean the crap out of the place too… You should have seen all the dust that got drug in there…. I am here to tell you… Everyone was shocked at how busy it was… Anyone who was there could verify it was 50k.

  16. Harleys Momma says:

    Harley leave these nice folks alone
    Harley I thought I told you no more computer time since you can’t play nice. I won’t have it in my trailer, I won’t. Now you ap[ologize to Mr. Christopher and Momma will make you some cocoa and give you your sponge bath. Come on young man, I’ve got your favorite underoos and Johnny Quest jammies laid out.

  17. Hearne Christopher says:

    I get it. Just like everybody at the Million Man March could easily verify that number.

    Let me get this straight, you stood in line for all seven hours – in the rain – and somehow figured it 50,000 people were there? Did you not read the explanation given for how the number was reached? They didn’t count, they merely cocked back and tossed out a guesstimate.

    The Plaza and KCP&L cocked back several years ago and tossed out 250,000 to 300,000. A team of statisticians did an actual count brought that number down to 30,000 and change. The Plaza and KCP&L did not refute it, admitted they had not ever counted and has not laid a glove on that number since.

    Just like the entertainment professional I interviewed, who spent the entire day there working and helping produce the physical event said, if the PAC had wanted to know what the number was it easily could have counted the crowd at its three entrances. Simple as that.

    They could have, will in the future at paid events but chose not to. End of silly story.

  18. Hearne Christopher says:

    Yeah, Harley. And next time you try counting something, leave your socks at home under the bed.

  19. Pythagoris says:

    Million Man March
    Almost 750,000 people attended the million man march and only 34 of them missed work. Go figure.

    Obama’s inauguration crowd was almost that size and 27 missed work.

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