Breaking News
More () »

Jazz Fest's first weekend had large crowds, some concerns over "cashless" system

Big names kicked off the fest on Friday including Lizzo, Big Freedia and Tank and the Bangas.

NEW ORLEANS — Weekend 1 of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival brought thousands of people to the Fair Grounds. 

We won't know exactly how many people attended, or how much money it brought in, until after the festival wraps up, according to Jazz Fest officials. 

One of the top things people are talking about on social media is the long lines on Friday. 

“I was a little bit worried about the cashless situation and it does seem like the lines are quite long," one Jazz Fest attendee told Eyewitness News, “The tipping situation is more difficult. I actually feel bad for the vendors.”  

But some vendors said going cashless actually increased their tips. 

Jazz Fest said the tips at the beverage booths go towards the local organizations that are manning them. Meanwhile, the Festival concession booth workers receive tips as well. 

Big names kicked off the fest on Friday including Lizzo, Big Freedia and Tank and the Bangas. 

Kelly Schulz, Senior VP of Communications at New Orleans & Co., the City's tourism bureau, said Lizzo's social media was great publicity for the Crescent City. 

“There’s a great video of Lizzo at one of the local restaurants she was here the night before her performance, and she was dancing and listening to a band so you know that kind of publicity value really builds excitement about the city. It shows that we're open and alive and vibrant," Schulz said. 

Schulz said the festival is coming on the heels of a record-breaking French Quarter Fest. 

“It [Jazz Fest] was a big success and lots of publicity value as well as the economic value," Schulz said. 

New Orleans & Co. is eager to see the numbers for Jazz Fest. 

“We talked to the hotels they said they were like in the 80 percent occupancy range the last time we checked, but we think those numbers may go up and that’s just one measure," Schulz said. 

Weekend 2 kicks off with Locals Thursday on May 4. 

Louisiana residents can buy a $50 dollar ticket at the gate with valid identification.

Click here to report a typo.

► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.

Before You Leave, Check This Out