City News

Freakfest attendance declines sharply, possibly due to cold weather

This year’s Freakfest saw a roughly 37 percent decrease in attendance from last year.

Image By: Thomas Yonash

Police reported “no serious incidents” at this year’s Freakfest, which saw a decrease in attendance from the previous few years.

Freakfest, an annual music festival in downtown Madison that corresponds with the week of Halloween, has seen drops in attendance each of the past three years. This year, around 19,000 tickets were sold, according to a Madison Police Department incident report. That number is down from roughly 30,000 in 2016 and 34,000 in 2015.

Joel DeSpain, MPD’s public information officer, said in the report he believes “colder weather may have helped keep the crowd size down.” Last year’s low temperature was 49 degrees, compared to this year’s 33 degrees. 2017’s event was the coldest Freakfest since at least 2012, according to the National Weather Service.

The event ran smoothly for the most part, police said. No serious incidents were reported and as of 1:30 a.m., there were 11 reported arrests. Of those arrested, only two went to jail. The Madison Fire Department responded to nine minor medical incidents.

DeSpain reported that besides those who were arrested, “others were cited and released for relatively minor violations like having an open intoxicant in the street.”

Madison’s annual Freakfest event, headlined this year by Virginia-based rapper D.R.A.M., capped off the weekend before Halloween, which also included a variety of varsity sports, the Dane County Farmers’ Market, and a Halloween-themed 5K run in Olin Park.

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