Jazz Fest sets new record attendance with 460,000 fans

AP News
|
Posted: May 05, 2015 8:45 AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The sun-filled final weekend of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, fueled by performances by Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Ed Sheeran, Trombone Shorty, T.I., Anthony Hamilton and No Doubt, drew 460,000 fans — the highest attendance total since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Festival organizers released attendance figures late Monday. Overall attendance for 2014 was 435,000. The 2012 mark of 450,000 propelled by first weekend performances by Bruce Springsteen and The Beach Boys.

The festival is held over two weekends, the first of which this year was drowned by rain and forced the shutdown of some stages early. As a thunderstorm approached, country superstar Keith Urban and his band took to the stage ahead of schedule on the festival's opening day to get some tunes in before the rain fell.

However, John's debut Saturday performance on the second weekend was sun-kissed. It was preceded by the sounds of piano legend Jerry Lee Lewis and drew thousands to the festival's largest stage. Fans were packed, elbow-to-elbow across the field and extended to the outer fence around the dirt track.

The huge crowd had some fans suggesting to media there should be a cap on the number of tickets sold for the festival, especially on days drawing popular headliners such as John.

Matthew Goldman, a spokesman for the festival, said there would be no comment Monday outside of the attendance numbers.

For the third year, AXS TV broadcast 21 hours of coverage of multiple performances to a national audience.

Next year's festival, presented by Shell, is scheduled for April 22 - May 1.