The 2017 Canadian Badlands Passion Play performances have come to a close after nine shows spread out over three weekends.
Final attendance was 11,430, which Passion Play Executive Director Vance Neudorf admits was about five per cent fewer than they were hoping for.
He thinks the near record setting heat the last couple of weekends, combined with a smoke advisory from forest fires in BC, kept potential play goers at home.
"The smoke was a surprize this year: people would phone us and say I'm not going to show up because we have smoke over here," he told 99.5 Drum FM. "We'd say we're clear, it's beautiful in the valley (and they'd say) yeah, but you might get smoke and I've got asthma. What do you do?"
Numbers aside, Neudorf called this year's Passion Play, the second for the Gospel of Luke, probably the best teamwork he's seen since he arrived in Drumheller about ten years ago.
"We have the best front house volunteers that you can find anywhere," he bragged. "Our parking people got five out of five rating and mentions on TripAdvisor because they're so good. One lady said I thought customer service of this calibre was dead a long time ago and you guys renewed my faith."
It's interesting to watch the jaw drop," he continued. "It's jaw dropping to walk through those front gates and people would say to their friend I just got covered in goosebumps. Did you? This is amazing."
Now that this year's performances are over, there is no down time for Passion Play organizers. In Neudorf's words, the 2017 Passion Play ends on Sunday and the 2018 play starts on Monday.
They're also preparing for other musical events, starting with a chamber music festival on August 3.
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