NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The third and final day of Bayou Boogaloo got off to a soggy start when rains delayed the festival’s opening time Sunday (May 19), but the sun came out in the evening, ending the weekend on a high note for vendors and attendees alike.
While the storms may have dissuade some from coming out to the bayou Sunday, vendors said the rest of the weekend went smoothly. And with last year’s washout and this year’s new admission fee, that was a relief.
Michael Ziebol, Jr. lives in Mid-City and said he loves Bayou Boogaloo, and a little rain wasn’t going to keep him away.
“The fest is great. I mean, with the activities, the people, the energy -- it’s where you want to be,” he said.
Bryce Gundy, a festival vendor, agreed.
“I love being a part of this. This is a beautiful festival,” Gundy said.
And while Gundy said the crowds were significantly smaller Sunday, the celebration began with big crowds at the start of the weekend, even despite the new $10 fee.
For the first time in the festival’s 14 years organizers charged for entrance, due to an increase in land-use fees from the city. Mid-City resident Ginger Schell said the entry fee turned her off at first, but not because she wasn’t willing to pay.
“It’s iffy, because before it was a donation. It was, OK, I’ll donate, and if you wanted to you could, but now you have to,” Schell said.
Still, Schell said it’s $10 well spent.
“They have good food, good music, it supports the area,” she said.
At $10 a day and $20 for a three-day pass, Bayou Boogaloo is still far cheaper than other popular Mid-City festivals, such as Jazz Fest and Voodoo.
“If the community wants this festival to happen, 20 bucks for the weekend? I mean, if someone’s going to complain about that, I just don’t get it,” Gundy said.
As a community event, Gundy said the money collected during it goes right back to the neighborhood.
Gundy was also a vendor last year when torrential wind and rain wiped out tents and drenched artwork. Compared to that, Sunday’s brief storms were nothing, she said.
“This morning wasn’t nearly as crazy as last year,” Gundy said.
Organizers did impose a two-hour delay as they waited for thunderstorms to clear the area, but after the gates opened around 1 p.m., sunny skies greeted festival-goers and it was smooth sailing from there on.