The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival drew more than 400,000 this year, up from the approximately 375,000 reported last year, according to festival producers. The event’s final Saturday (May 2) drew a crowd of 90,000. Jazzfest was held April 24-26 and April 30-May 3.
“Bon Jovi’s enduring appeal manifested itself in one of the biggest days ever at Jazz Fest,” said Randy Phillips, CEO of AEG Live, co-producer of the event with Festival Production of the final Saturday.
Phillips said of the 90,000 in attendance on May 2, “probably 60,000-65,000 were in front of Bon Jovi’s stage.” Other artists playing Jazz Fest this year included the Dave Matthews Band, Kings Of Leon, the O’Jays, Joe Cocker, Wynton Marsalis, Drive-By Truckers, James Taylor, Wilco, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ben Harper & Relentless7, Emmylou Harris, Sugarland, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt, the Neville Brothers, Neil Young, Buddy Guy, and scores of other artists, most representing the musical heritage of the Big Easy.
Phillips credits the strong run for Jazz Fest 2009 to “the strength of the brand, the fact that we widened the demographic with an artist as gigantic commercially as Bon Jovi, and the weather. We had two stars on that Saturday. Bon Jovi headlined and Mother Nature supported.”