Nearly half a million people attended the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this year, with crowd sizes topping the attendance figures for the past two years, organizers announced Thursday.
450,000 people attended the 49th edition of the Jazz Fest, presented by title sponsor Shell, at the New Orleans Fair Grounds this year. The event was fortunate enough to have near-perfect weather for all seven days of the fest, which helped draw large crowds.
The 2017 and 2016 festivals, both of which battled rain, saw crowds of 425,000. 460,000 fans attended in 2015 – the highest attendance total since 2005.
Historically, the peak for Jazz Fest attendance came in 2001 when an estimated 650,000 people attended.
This year, Aerosmith drew a particularly large crowd on the final Saturday. During the first weekend, there was also a tribute to Fats Domino, who died last year. That tribute performance featured Bonnie Raitt, Jon Batiste, Irma Thomas, Davell Crawford and Al "Lil Fats" Jackson.
Locals' Thursday this year drew crowds for Lionel Richie. Other top acts included Anita Baker, in her final year of touring; moving tributes by Aaron Neville and many others to Charles Neville, who died on the eve of Jazz Fest 2018; and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue's performance to close out the last day of the Festival on the Acura Stage.
The 50th anniversary Jazz Fest is set for April 26 through May 5, 2019.