Music nights fail to hit all the right notes at the races

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Music related race nights at Newmarket’s July Course have been attributed to a fall in overall crowd figures at both tracks last year.

Figures released by the Racecourse Association (RCA) last week showed that across the 38 fixtures staged at both the town’s Rowley Mile and July Course total attendance figures had fallen from 339,972 in 2012 to 331,615 in 2013, a drop of 2.46 per cent.

In addition the average attendance per meeting was also down on the one from 12 months earlier with it down to 8,727, as opposed to 8,947 in 2012.

“The drop in attendance figures is completely music related,” said Amy Starkey, boss of Newmarket Racecourses.

“We had a one or two music nights that where the artists didn’t quite perform as well as we expected.”

Although the figures released show a clear drop in attendance numbers Miss Starkey confirmed that aside from the music events, most other fixtures saw an increase in numbers.

“Outside the Newmarket Nights meetings and the Summer Saturdays we saw an overall increase of one-and-a-half per cent on the 2012 figures, which is a move in the right direction,” said Miss Starkey.

“The Qipco Guineas Festival achieved a new high of 31,500 which was up nine per cent on the year before, with 2000 Guineas day recording its highest figure since 2008, and 1000 Guineas day its highest since 2005.

“While our other highlight the July Festival saw a continued increase in crowd numbers which this has been the case since switching the meeting to a Thursday, Friday, Saturday in 2011.”

In effort to try and get an increase in numbers attending the music race nights Miss Starkey confirmed that various moves have been made.

Already confirmed to appear at the July Course this year are Wet Wet Wet, Sir Tom Jones and James Blunt.

“We have taken a different approach this year by forming a new joint venture with other Jockey Club Racecourses called Jockey Club Live to help us secure good artists,” said Miss Starkey.

“One thing we did notice last year is that we attracted a new audience with performers like Labrinth and we want that to continue.

“At the moment we are working hard to get the right artists on stage and that has started by the confirmation of James Blunt, Wet Wet Wet and Sir Tom Jones.”

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