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2017 French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron Musical debuts, new stages, and logistical improvements contributed to historic year

April 18, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email
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.

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