Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - With rain making several of its seven days a muddy, wet mess, attendance for the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was 425,000 this year, down about 25,000 from last year’s figures.
Organizers released the attendance figures Thursday, pointing out that rain or mud caused issues on three of the festival’s seven days this year, the 44th annual event.
Last year an estimated 450,000 people attended – the highest since 2003. 2012 attendance was boosted by large crowds at the Fair Grounds for Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles.
This year brought beautiful weather for the closing Saturday and Sunday, which likely boosted attendance, although rain on the last Friday did delay the opening of the festival gates and cause muddy conditions.
Trombone Shorty’s standout closing performance on Sunday, along with a set by Hall and Oates, likely drew big crowds, along with stars such as Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Ocean, and first-timers Maroon 5, the Black Keys, Phoenix and Patti Smith.
This year’s rain was nothing like 2010 when it rained or threatened to for nearly five of the festival’s seven days – pulling attendance down to just 375,000, compared to 400,000 the year before.
Historically, Jazz Fest attendance peaked in 2001, when an estimated 618,000 people attended. That includes a one-day record, when Mystikal and the Dave Matthews Band headlined.
Next year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell is scheduled for April 25 – May 4, 2014.