New Orleans Jazz Fest Attracts 460,000 Fans

The rain may have come down in torrents the first weekend of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival April 22-26 but it wasn’t enough to dampen attendance.

Some 460,000 fans were estimated to have spun the Jazzfest turnstiles during the annual two-weekend bash, the most in the post-Hurricane Katrina years, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. In comparion, the 2014 fest brought in an overall attendance of 435,000 fans.

Beautiful weather May 1-3 no doubt contributed to Jazzfest attracting tons of music lovers from across the genres. Crowds were especially thick May 2, with performances by Elton JohnLenny KravitzEd SheeranTrombone Shorty, T.I., and No Doubt packing NOLA’s Fair Grounds Race Course.

Photo: John Davisson
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Fairgrounds Racecourse, New Orleans, La.

Aerial photos from the fest show the field packed to the outer dirt track with music fans. Because Jazzfest sells single-day tickets good for each weekend and does not report daily attendance, it’s hard to tell how large any single-day crowd is, and that apparently has some people concerned about overcrowding.

Louisiana Fire Marshall Butch Browning received calls about the size of the May 2 Jazzfest crowd, but told WWL-TV the festival’s capacity was not exceeded, adding he awaits more information. Jazzfest producers told the New Orleans Advocate there is a standing-room only policy, with folding chairs barred from the race track and in front of the main Acura stage.

Representatives for the festival did not respond to an email from Pollstar seeking comment.

Jazz Fest’s 2001 edition holds the overall attendance record with a reported 650,000 fans.