(Sept. 20, 2019) Ticket sales and overall crowd numbers led to last weekend’s Bike Week activities being the largest one so far, event organizer Chase Micheal reported this week.
Thousands upon thousands of people already come to the annual 19th annual Delmarva Bike Week, the ninth annual Ocean City BikeFest and the 11th annual Bikes to the Beach bike week activities, but this year saw the most the event has ever seen at the convention center on 40th Street, the inlet parking lot and the Salisbury Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
Micheal could not offer a total number of people, but estimated the crowd was larger than the usual 175,000 people.
“I don’t have a direct way to measure how many people attend,” Micheal said. “We get estimates from the police. We get estimates from [Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association]. We get estimates from trash … we get estimates from all those, and it’s kind of an aggregate. But … based on the traffic at the convention center and the stadium, which are free, it felt like the most we’ve ever had.”
Tickets sold out for most shows, and the passes ratio was 70 percent weekend passes to 30 percent single-day passes.
“Based on ticket sales alone, I would say that was the biggest for our concerts by far as far as the event as a whole goes,” Micheal said.
National acts like Cheap Trick, ZZ Top, Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons performed throughout the weekend, and most of those shows were sold out well in advance.
The event draws as many as 150,000 to 175,000 attendees on average, and is one of the largest motorcycle festivals in the country, ranked third only to Daytona, Florida, and Sturgis, South Dakota, according to Micheal.
Last year, however, saw a precipitous drop in attendance because of concerns about the approach of Hurricane Florence.
“Last year we had a really bad forecast,” Micheal said. “Our event was a third of what it normally was or even smaller as far as attendance goes. Even worse, the hurricane never even came. Having the forecast a good four weeks out really goes to show that as an outdoor event we rely on a good forecast.”
Micheal was also happy with the traffic not in Ocean City, but at the stadium in Salisbury.
“I was very happy with the traffic that we had at the stadium,” he said. “We’ve got a lot going on there and we’re trying to draw folks away from Ocean City because this town is not made to hold 150,000 people in one spot.”
Micheal was also pleased with the results of the first zero waste program sponsored by Go Green OC.
Go Green OC, a non-profit dedicated to zero waste goals in Ocean City, recently joined with Delmarva Bike Week and Ocean City Bikefest to launch the first zero-waste event in Ocean City.
“Since September of last year, we have been planning ways to make OC Bikefest more green,” said Josh Chamberlain, founder of Go Green OC. We will be implementing phases over the next five years which will have a positive impact on our environment and surrounding communities. We will make OC Bikefest the model event nationwide.”
Originally, the plan was to collect and recycle around 10,000 cans, but at the end of the event, over 26,000 cans had been collected and recycled.
“It was well, very well received,” Micheal said. “[Chamberlain] who’s driving this go green initiative … he really didn’t know what to expect. And I said, ‘Well, you know, here’s how many cans we will have depending on the crowd. Let’s make 10,000 cans a good goal.’ After seeing this and what the potential is and how much more we can do, our goal next year will probably be 50,000 cans.”
None of this would be possible, Micheal said, without the support of the town of Ocean City.
“Literally everybody in the town, from the mayor or the council to the chamber, Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association and every business individual sponsor … everything that goes on is a cog in the machine that makes it run,” Micheal said. “We can’t do any of those things without a single one of them.”