Jazz Fest 2018 expected to bring in $300 million

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Jazz Fest diehards can finally plan their schedules, ahead of May's giant music, food and arts celebration.

Organizers released the day-by-day cubes Tuesday afternoon.

The first weekend's top-billed performers include: Sting, and Rod Stewart, who's filling in for Aretha Franklin -- plus Jimmy Buffett  and Charlie Wilson.

Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Aerosmith and Trombone Shorty are just some of the performers rounding out the second weekend.

"Jazz Fest has really become the hallmark, granddaddy festival along with Mardi Gras," Mark Romig, CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation said.

This year, the city will be celebrating itself for the big 300.

"We made that really the focus of the festival, a central focus. So we have a new tent, a music tent, and it will be every kind of music in the history of New Orleans," said Quint Davis, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Director.

It's also expected to bring in roughly 300 million dollars.

"We talk about the Super Bowl coming once every ten years, and that's economic impact. Well in ten years, this festival has three billion dollars of impact," Davis said.

He said it's not just hotels profiting from tourists.

"It's one of the biggest weekends of the year for the restaurants, (one of the) biggest weekends of the year for the music clubs, for the taxi cabs, for the limousine service, even if you think about the hundreds of thousands of food servings we have out there," Davis said.

He added that 80 percent of attendees are local.

"They make up you know, a huge portion of how many people come, tickets come, not that it's that many different people, but it's people coming on multiple days," Davis said.

Between 400 and 500 thousand music lovers come each year.

"We certainly have an opportunity to have all of our hotel rooms in the metropolitan area booked for those two weekends. There's still rooms that are available, but they're going fast," Romig said

The PGA's Zurich Classic of New Orleans will also be in town the first weekend, which will bring even more people.

Tickets are still at pre-sale prices, and organizers say those who come to the gate with a Louisiana I.D. on locals' day when Lionel Richie is headlining, they can get two tickets for 50 dollars each.

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