Jazzfest Back In The Groove

With the help of new partner AEG Live, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was back on track this year after losing about $900,000 in 2004.

Jazzfest producer Quint Davis was relieved.

“We had (attendance) in the 400,000 to 450,000 range,” he said, “which means we returned to the glory days. That’s as good as pre-9/11 attendance.”

Last year’s Jazzfest suffered from a combination of depressed attendance following the terrorist attacks and bad weather.

The two-weekend festival completed its 36th year May 1st with noteworthy performances from Dave Matthews Band, Brian Wilson, Nelly, B.B. King, Elvis Costello and more.

Though no records were broken – or even matched – this year, despite near flawless weather on six of seven days, AEG CEO Randy Phillips was impressed, according to the Times-Picayune.

“I thought it was truly the best music-related event I’ve ever been to in my life,” Phillips told the paper. “Now I understand why people plan a year in advance around these weekends.”

For next year’s Jazzfest, Phillips and Davis hope to secure a primary corporate sponsor.

“It makes some people very nervous when you talk about (corporate) sponsors, that there’s something sacrilegious about sponsors,” Davis told the Times-Picayune. “But it’s an integral part of the financial architecture.”