April 10th-13th marked the 31st annual French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron.
This year's attendance figures indicate that nearly 733,000 festival-goers enjoyed the music, food, special events, and of course, the historic French Quarter. This marks a significant increase over 2013, when approximately 560,000 fans attended the event.
The 2014 French Quarter Festival featured iPhone and Android phone apps, which were available free of charge, courtesy of GE Capital. Nearly 16,000 iOS users downloaded the festival update from last year's app, and 7,100 iOS users installed the app for the first time. On the Android side, 1,300 users updated from last year's app, and about 2,600 new users installed the app for the first time. This adds up to over 54,000 Festival App users.
Rouses had record sales at French Quarter Festival 2014, selling over 40,000 pounds of boiled crawfish and over 5,000 servings of their Crawfish Boil Boudin. Beers sales were also up: Abita reports 905 kegs (up from 632 in 2013) and over 800 cases of beer. Progressive Waste Solutions has reported 210 tons of garbage from the festival grounds this year, and Pelican Ice delivered 236,160 pounds of ice-- up from 200,000 pounds in 2013.
The award-winning festival, which began in 1984, has grown to become the largest free music festival in the United States. Twenty-one music stages throughout the French Quarter presented the best in New Orleans music, representing every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R & B and New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, classical, cabaret, opera, Cajun, Zydeco, world music, international, as well as a musical stage for children. Over 115 food and beverage booths located in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Decatur Street, and the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint made up the "World's Largest Jazz Brunch," a signature event featuring authentic local cuisine from renowned area restaurants, many of whom have been with the Festival throughout its entire 31 year history.
Festival goers attended a variety of free special events throughout the weekend, including Dr. John's first FQF appearance since 1987, the return of the Chevron Evening Concert Series, an expanded Film Fest at French Quarter Festival done in partnership with Timecode: NOLA and Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, a lecture series, 'Let them Talk: Conversations on Louisiana Music'; free dance lessons at three stages; two children's areas with music and activities; a Pirate's Alley Juried Art Show; Rouses World Championship Crawfish Eating Contest; Battle of the Bands; a new riverfront picnic area, the NOLA.com Eat Drink Café located on the riverfront Kohlmeyer Lawn, Sunday's 'Dancing at Dusk,' which filled the 400 block of Royal Street and beyond with dancers.
Over 400 guests attended the festival's Opening Night Gala at Antoine's on opening day of Festival. A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Roots of Music.
French Quarter Festival is produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., (FQFI) the 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, which also produces Satchmo SummerFest in August and Christmas New Orleans Style in December.