NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New acts, great food and perfect springtime weather helped draw a big crowd for the 34th annual French Quarter Festival.
Organizers say more than 700,000 visitors from across the city and the world came to enjoy the best the city has to offer.
"Visitors came from around the world to join with locals and celebrate our incredible music, food, and culture. With roughly 1700 local musicians, the best of New Orleans was truly on display all four days," French Quarter Festival President & CEO Emily Madero said.
The attendance numbers spiked 60 percent on opening day, April 6. Organizers credit Aaron Neville's festival debut with helping draw a large number of people that day.
This year's festival also saw a record-breaking 44 new artists performing as well as the launch of a new stage at JAX Brewery. Another new stage, the Schoolhouse stage at KIPP McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts, helped reduce congestion and spread the crowd throughout the 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," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
While this year's festival saw a large crowd, it's below the record-setting attendance set in 2016 when organizers reported 760,000 visitors.