Rebecca Sell, Marketing Manager
NEW ORLEANS, La. (April 12, 2017) - French Quarter Festivals, Inc. proudly releases outcomes for the 34th annual French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron. This year's attendance figures indicate that over 700,000* festival-goers enjoyed the music, food, special events, and of course, the historic French Quarter. President & CEO Emily Madero said, "Visitors came from around the world to join with locals and celebrate our incredible music, food, and culture. With roughly 1,700 local musicians, the best of New Orleans was truly on display all four days."
The 2017 event was historic in that it featured Aaron Neville's festival debut on opening day, which boosted Thursday's attendance by over 60 percent. In addition, there were a record-breaking 44 new artists. In 2017, organizers focused on quality, and the 34th annual French Quarter Festival brought many changes to improve the festival-goer's experience. The launch of the Jack Daniel's stage at JAX Brewery brought four days of music and provided a spacious site for fans to enjoy performances by Otra, Meschiya Lake, Lena Prima, The Soul Rebels, Shamarr Allen, and many others.
The strategic placement of the stage linked the riverfront to the historic French Quarter; the site also hosted a public hospitality lounge sponsored by New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). "Our GoNOLA + Paris Parker/AVEDA Hospitality Lounge exceeded expectations and was a huge success - we welcomed and interacted with thousands of attendees in an inviting, oasis-like environment," said Jeremy Cooker, VP of Marketing and Special Projects for NOTMC. "We were excited and proud to be part of the re-imagined space that featured a stellar music line-up, and some of the best food at the fest. Our guests raved about the experience and we look forward to building on it for future activations with our partners at French Quarter Festivals, Inc. and Paris Parker."
Another addition, the new Schoolhouse stage at KIPP McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts, located at 721 St Philip Street, drew music fans deeper into the neighborhood for a more-intimate experience. The new additions reduced congestion and maximized the entire French Quarter.
"French Quarter Festival is important to our city and state. The economic impact of nearly $190 million is tremendous. This home-grown, New Orleans icon in the heart of the Vieux Carre has turned into the largest free music fest in the U.S. and attracted people from all over the world. Aaron Neville's debut, the improved crowd flow, and perfect weather were just a few ingredients in the perfect recipe that delivered an authentic, unforgettable New Orleans experience," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
The award-winning festival, which began in 1984, was created by then Mayor Ernest "Dutch" Morial, who appointed a group of visionaries who designed the festival as a way to bring people back to the historic French Quarter following lengthy construction prior to the World's Fair. It has grown to become the largest showcase of Louisiana food and music in the world. Twenty-three music stages presented the best in New Orleans music, representing every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B and funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, classical, cabaret, opera, Cajun, Zydeco, world music, international, as well as a musical stage for children. Nearly 100 food and beverage booths located in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Decatur Street, and the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint made up the "World's Largest Jazz Brunch," a signature event featuring authentic local cuisine from renowned area restaurants, many of whom have been with the Festival throughout its entire history.
A variety of free special events were offered throughout the weekend: Whitney Bank Film Fest at French Quarter Festival, produced in partnership with Cinema on the Bayou and Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré; a symposium at the Old U.S. Mint, 'Let them Talk: Conversations on Louisiana Music'; free dance lessons; two children's areas - including the Chevron STEAM Zone- with music and activities; a Pirate's Alley Juried Art Show; Battle of the Bands; Sunday's 'Dancing at Dusk,' which filled the 400 block of Royal Street and beyond with dancers. In addition, organizers cite the incredible four days of perfect weather as a contributing factor to the success.
French Quarter Festival relies on strong community support to present the 'kickoff to festival season in New Orleans' - with over 1,500 volunteers, numerous generous sponsors - including title sponsor Chevron, and businesses from all over the country who sponsor musical acts. Other sponsors included:
Abita Brewing Company, Brown-Forman, GE Digital, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, NOLA.com/Times-Picayune, OffBeat Magazine, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, Tropical Isle, Rouses, WWL-TV , Acadian Ambulance, Amtrak, Antoine's Restaurant, Bayou Rum, The Berger Company, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Cajun Corner, Cinema on the Bayou, Chevrolet, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, Crescent Crown Distributing, Crimestoppers, Cumulus New Orleans, Data News Weekly, DownBeat Magazine, ESPN New Orleans, French Market Corporation, Harrah's New Orleans, Hermann-Grima House, House of Blues, IntheNola.com, I.T.S. Fire Alarm Security, LLC, Jimmy John's, KKAY, Kingfish Kitchen and Cocktails, KREWE du optic, Laurel Communications, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Live Free Magazine, Louisiana Cookin', Louisiana Division of the Arts, Louisiana Lottery, Louisiana Seafood Board, Mardi Gras World, Mark Wasserman, Morris Bart Attorneys, Musician's Performance Fund, NCIS: New Orleans, New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, New Orleans Original Daiquiris, NOLA Jitterbugs, Palm Court Jazz Cafe, Pan American Life Insurance Group, Paris Parker/Aveda, Pat O'Brien's, Patricia Pamulo, Pepsi, The Plant Gallery, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Preservation Hall, Renaissance Publishing, Rentech Solutions, Republic National Distributing, Royal House, Royal Sonesta, State Farm, Steinway and Sons, Taste of the South, Tour Louisiana, Touro, The Vinyl District, Uptown Messenger, WBOK, Westin New Orleans Canal Place, WHERE Magazine, Where Y'at Magazine, Windsor Court Hotel, Whitney Bank, WHIV, WWL-AM, WWOZ, WWNO 89.9 FM, WRNO 99.5, WYLD, Zapp's Potato Chips, and Zatarain's.
*Attendance numbers are calculated based on actual counts (that are adjusted down by percentage to account for repeat entrances and exits). F.E.S.S. Inc. counts at entry and exit points of major stages. This number does not include attendance at the festival's Royal, Bourbon, Chartres, Decatur and French Market, and JAX Brewery stages, Battle of the Bands, Dancing at Dusk, JAX Brewery site, Cathedral Concert, and other special events.
French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron is produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., (FQFI) the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which also produces Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron in August and Christmas New Orleans Style in December. FQFI's mission is to promote the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans through high quality special events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage of this unique city, contribute to the economic well-being of the community, and instill increased pride in the people of New Orleans. For more information about French Quarter Festivals, Inc. or any of these events, call (504) 522-5730 or visit www.fqfi.org.