2019 French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron Breaks Attendance Records
NEW ORLEANS — French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) reported in a press release the final outcomes surrounding the 36th annual French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron. As a nonprofit, FQFI produces French Quarter Festival—one of the largest free music festivals in the country—through sponsorships, donations, and the sale of beverages and festival merchandise. Despite the threat of severe weather on Saturday, French Quarter Festival’s attendance was a record-breaking 825,000.
A new venue located on the Moonwalk, the Pan-American Life Insurance Group Stage, and the expansion of the Chevron Evening Concert Series were among improvements that helped with crowd flow and created a comfortable atmosphere for attendees.
“From the moment our kickoff parade rolled from Bourbon Street to Sunday night’s Dancing at Dusk, French Quarter Festival 2019 was pure magic,” said Emily Madero, president and CEO of FQFI. “This year, we shook things up with the new stage, more headliners, recycling, and a record number of music debuts. We are grateful for the tremendous number of fans who embraced the additions and contributed to the success of the weekend.”
Musical highlights included a Friday night of funk with George Porter, Jr. and the Runnin’ Partners' performance on the Chevron Stage, Royal Teeth’s debut on the Abita Beer Stage, Lost Bayou Ramblers on the GE Stage, Bon Bon Vivant on the Jack Daniel’s Stage, The Nayo Jones Experience on the Omni Royal Orleans Stage, and a full weekend of New Orleans legends like Robin Barnes, Charmaine Neville, and James Andrews on the Hilton Stage.
A total of 1,700 Louisiana musicians performed at the 2019 festival.
Longtime festival artist and GE Stage headliner Corey Henry was featured on the 2019 promo poster and reusable souvenir cups that supported recycling at the event; the popular cups were sold out by Friday.
“As a child who grew up performing on the streets of the French Quarter, to be chosen as the face of the 2019 festival was a great honor,” said Henry. “For more than three decades French Quarter Fest has uniquely blended New Orleans music and culture to promote artists like me to fans worldwide. My band, The Treme Funktet, is grateful for their support and dedication.”
Beyond the incredible programming, the 2019 event was marked by numerous surprises and magical moments like the heartfelt reunion of first responders and a 2017 festival attendee whose life was saved by their heroic actions after a cardiac arrest. A marriage proposal was delivered from the Tropical Isle Stage on Friday, April 12. On Sunday, April 14, headliner Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. surprised families at the Chevron Children’s STEM Zone and participated in several educational activities with the children. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell danced her way into Jackson Square with bands and walkers from the kickoff parade. She then spoke in the opening ceremony on the Hilton Stage.
“This city thrives off our people, our culture bearers who make this city so special. Thank you so much for coming to the City of New Orleans, and congratulations on a wonderful 36th annual French Quarter Festival,” said Mayor Cantrell.
FQFI serves a dual mission to showcase New Orleans’ culture and heritage and contribute to the economic well-being of the community. The culinary lineup, sponsored by Broussard’s Restaurant and Courtyard, was comprised of 65+ local vendors. Broussard’s is part of the Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts group, where management said French Quarter Festival matches Mardi Gras sales and is truly crucial for all the French Quarter locations. Preliminary reports from vendors across the lineup show strong sales, and this revenue stays in the community.
Last year the festival introduced a VIP option, the NOLA.com Fest Family VIP Experience, which expanded to include daily passes in 2019. Proceeds from Fest Family memberships helped produce the event and keep it free for the community. The organization also relied heavily on the 1,400+ volunteers, numerous generous sponsors—including title sponsor Chevron and businesses from all over the country that sponsor musical acts.
“Chevron was proud to once again serve as the presenting sponsor of the annual French Quarter Festival,” said Chevron Gulf of Mexico public affairs manager Leah Brown. “Across the Quarter, locals and visitors alike celebrated the music, cuisine, and character that make New Orleans unlike any other city in the world. As a result of the hard work of the French Quarter Festival team, the four-day event couldn’t have gone better. We thank them for their efforts and invite everyone to join us for Satchmo SummerFest in August.”