Largely obscured by the coming storm that is Mardi Gras, organizers of the French Quarter Festival recently released a study showing it has the third largest economic impact among major events in New Orleans. The three-day French Quarter Festival saw its economic impact increase 44 percent from $139.6 million in 2009 to $316M last year. And no one was more surprised than the event organizers themselves. “I was totally shocked when I saw the numbers and actually questioned them,” said Marci Schramm, executive director of French Quarter Festivals Inc.
A University of New Orleans study of last year’s festival tied $316 million in spending to the three-day concert event compared with $139.6 million in 2009. Only Mardi Gras, at $468 million in 2010, and the Super Bowl, predicted to range between $350 million and $400 million in 2013 when it will be held again in New Orleans, rank higher.
The biggest reason for the 44 percent increase was the economy, said Janet Speyrer, associate dean for research at UNO’s College of Business Administration. “We were in the worst part of the recession (in 2009) and New Orleans wasn’t exempt. We had people from all over the U.S. coming here and they spent less on shopping and dining,” Speyrer said. Unlike most music festivals, French Quarter Fest is free and takes place along the Mississippi riverfront as opposed to being confined to a specific venue. Instead of spending money exclusively on food and beer vendors inside the Fairgrounds at Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest visitors frequent bars, restaurants and shops throughout the day and night, Speyrer said.
“The Jazz Fest people go out early to get spots and stay until the big acts are over in the evening. That’s where they spend their money,” Speyrer said. “Plus you get whipped out there, so you probably aren’t going to want to go to a fine dining restaurant after, which is not the case at French Quarter Fest.”
On an average day, French Quarter Fest visitors spend $101.42 on meals, $85.98 on lodging, $36.93 on shopping, $33.31 in bars, $23.73 on entertainment, $11.60 on transportation and $7.63 on gambling. “This organization was founded for that reason, to keep this neighborhood healthy,” Schramm said. “So it’s wonderful to see all these years later that it’s spiraled into this big thing that makes the shopkeepers, restaurants and bars have a great time before they go into the lean summer months.” The only significant complaint about French Quarter Fest comes from New Orleanians who say tourists have overrun the event.
Last year, more than 54 percent of attendees were from out of town. “The good and bad of the festival is that locals have always embraced it as their own little secret. ‘We’ve got this and nobody knows about it.’ And then it gets discovered by the tourists. It becomes so good for the city and economy but then there’s a little pushback from people who say it’s too crowded,” Schramm said. To address their concerns, festival operators have added an extra day, dubbed Locals Lagniappe Day, on Thursday, April 7. The festival is also expanding its boundaries by adding a stage on Decatur Street and another major stage near the ferry landing next to the Aquarium of the Americas. Future plans include expanding Frenchmen Street and Washington Square in Faubourg Marigny and Armstrong Park on the other side of the French Quarter. “Residents and merchants on Frenchmen say, ‘All your people are parking in our neighborhood anyway so bring the festival down here,’” Schramm said.
The ability to expand, however, requires money. The annual budget of French Quarter Festivals Inc. is $2 million, which covers the costs of its three festivals and salaries for its seven employees. The organization also produces Satchmo Summerfest and Christmas New Orleans Style. “The budget some festivals have for just their T-shirts is half of the budget we have for the entire French Quarter Festival,” Schramm said. “Someone said this is how it works: If you need 10 people to do the job (Jazz Fest producer) Quint Davis will hire 20, (Voodoo Fest producer) Stephen Rehage will hire five and French Quarter Festival will find 10 volunteers.”
Despite the festival’s success, it will never stray from its core mission – providing a showcase for local artists. “We’ve only hired Louisiana musicians and we’ll never change that. Dave Matthews will never headline French Quarter Festival.”
BY: Richard A. Webster, Staff Writer
POSTED: 10:15 AM Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Over 1500 volunteers are needed to help staff the festival in beverage, information, children, survey, raffle and merchandise booths. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least one four to five hour shift. Our Thank You for volunteering is a Volunteers only, limited edition T-Shirt and complimentary food and beverage tickets. Click here to get involved.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA (February 9, 2011) – Last year was full of historic moments – the Saints won the Super Bowl, a new
Mayor took office, and French Quarter Festival broke records. The 2010 French Quarter Festival surpassed all attendance
expectations, with an estimated 512,000 local and out-of-town visitors.
Mardi Gras, Super Bowl and French Quarter Festival – by the numbers
The 2010 French Quarter Festival moved to the forefront of events as a leader in economic impact for the city and state. According to
the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center, the 2010 French Quarter Festival had a $316 million dollar economic
impact. This places it third in economic impact for 2010, just behind Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl (when it is in New Orleans).
New Orleans last hosted the Super Bowl in 2002. The event is estimated to have had a $292 million economic impact including
spending on entertainment, shopping, lodging and transportation according to Dr. Janet Speyrer, an associate dean for research and
an economics and professor at the University of New Orleans. Speyrer further said UNO has estimated the impact of the 2013 game
at $350 million to $400 million with the great variation attributable to large unknown factors like changes in the attitude toward
corporate travel and hotel room rates.
According to the Times-Picayune, the 2009 Mardi Gras celebration resulted in a direct economic impact of $145.7 million and an
indirect impact of $322 million in the city of New Orleans, as found by a study commissioned by a group of Carnival krewe captains
and conducted by Tulane University professors Toni Weiss and Paul Spindt.
New Orleans Tourism officials have publicly stated that New Orleans has finally moved beyond Katrina – in terms of media and visitor
perception. French Quarter Festivals, Inc. is proud to be a partner in helping to produce quality events for the community while
stimulating tourism, economic growth and generating tax dollars for the city and state.
2011 French Quarter Festival – a year of growth, with focus on maintaining a high quality event
In preparation for the 2011 French Quarter Festival locals and visitors alike will experience changes that should improve their festival
For the first time in its history, the festival has added an additional day. Dubbed ‘Locals Lagniappe Day,’ Thursday, April 7th will open the festival. An eclectic mix of artists, chosen because they are local favorites, include: Los Hombres Calientes, Benny Grunch and the Bunch, Kipori Woods, and The Preservation Hall-Stars will play opening day. Jackson Square will be open from noon to 5 p.m. and the Riverfront (Woldenberg Riverfront Park), with four stages, will run from 3 – 7 p.m. New Orleans’ finest restaurants – otherwise known as ‘The World’s Largest Jazz Brunch’ will be serving in Jackson Square and on the Riverfront.
The House of Blues has joined the festival as a sponsor and partner. New for 2011 will be a House of Blues Stage on Decatur Street in close proximity to the venue. The TGIF ‘Thank Goodness it’s Festival!’ kickoff party on Wednesday, April 6th moves to the House of Blues for the first time, and takes place from 7-10 p.m. with Bluesman Little Freddie King in the VooDoo Garden and Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters in the Music Hall. A special Gospel Brunch menu will be served. In addition, House of Blues will continue to host its food booth on the Riverfront and will become an ‘official’ merchandise outlet of the French Quarter Festival.
For 2011, the Monteleone Hotel has joined the festival as the official hotel sponsor. The always popular Classical Music Stage, will move to the Monteleone this year with performances on Saturday and Sunday. The Classical Stage features performances by some of the most respected performers from the area including: Harpist Rachel Van Voorhees, Guitarist John Rankin, members of the New Orleans Opera, the Louisiana Philharmonic and more. It has been said that ‘the French Quarter begins in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone’. This beautiful and historic hotel sits majestically at the foot of Royal Street.
2011 brings the return of the Latin World Stage to French Quarter Festival. The popular high energy stage returns to the Old U.S. Mint and will feature artists such as Freddie Omar con su Banda, Los Po-Boy-Citos, Ensemble Fatien featuring Seguenon Kone, Ovi-G and the Froggies, Zion Trinity, Higher Heights Reggae and Mas Mamones.
The ever-popular Children’s Headquarters will be expanded on the Audubon Aquarium Riverfront Plaza and made possible in part through an exciting partnership with Chevron and Audubon Institute. Anchoring the Children’s Headquarters will be a new Kids’ Performance Tent and interactive family activities, including hands-on cooking demonstrations with Whole Foods; yoga and karate for kids; face painting and activities courtesy of Tulane Hospital for Children; Junior Rangers activities sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, and more. This year, the Children’s Headquarters will once again focus on educating families about ‘healthy kids’ programs in a fun and interactive way. Performances in the Kids Tent are sponsored by Tulane Hospital for Children and the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park.
Great partnerships return to French Quarter Festival
In order to keep French Quarter Festival free and open to the public, the organization relies heavily on the contributions of sponsors and partners, beverage and merchandise sales, and vendor fees. For 2011, the festival is thrilled to welcome back Capital One Bank, as Presenting Sponsor. “The French Quarter Festival is a vibrant, fun event that celebrates one of America’s most historic and cherished neighborhoods, the French Quarter, in a style that is distinctly New Orleans,” said Steve Hemperley, Capital One Bank’s New Orleans Market President. “Capital One Bank is proud to return as presenting sponsor of this great local festival, which offers world-class music and food and provides a significant and positive economic impact to our city, state and region. At Capital One Bank, we are committed to investing in greater New Orleans to help it grow and thrive, and by supporting the French Quarter Festival we’re supporting our local economy.” In addition to their sponsorship of the festival, Capital One Bank will once again host the Second Line Shuttle, providing free shuttle transportation for festival goers three days of festival (Friday through Sunday). Additional busses will run in 2011 to better accommodate festival guests.
In collaboration with BMI, French Quarter Festival welcomes back for its second year the BMI Singer Songwriter Stage at The Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street. Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 400,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. On Saturday and Sunday of the festival, the BMI Songwriter Stage will feature the region’s finest up-and-comers.
Catering to the technology-savvy festival-goer, the 2011 French Quarter Festival will once again have its own iPhone application. Made possible through a partnership with Applitite, iPhone users will have a personal French Quarter Festival Guide at their fingertips. Applitite, the leader in music festival mobile application providers and also avid festival lovers, has created an application that allows revelers to plan their agenda, get up-to-the-minute updates about the event, and access the festival map and music schedule directly from iPhones and iPod Touches. The application will be available for download prior to French Quarter Festival and can be downloaded through the Apple’s iTunes Store.
2011 also welcomes the return of traditional dance lessons at the French Market Traditional Jazz Stage; Zydeco dance lessons at the Cajun Zydeco Riverfront Stage; and second line dance lessons in the Children’s Headquarters near Audubon Aquarium. Between musical breaks, festival patrons are invited to learn traditional dance-styles such as the Charleston, Swing, Zydeco and Second-line. Instructors from NOLA Jitterbugs, Fleur de Lindy, Dance Quarter and Dancing Man 504 will be on hand demonstrating and educating visitors on these various dance styles.
Out-of-town festival goers are encouraged to book their travel accommodations now; as many area hotels have reported they have
been enjoying strong reservations since December 2010. April marks the kickoff to festival season in New Orleans. As always, there
is no finer time to visit New Orleans as the spring, especially during the weekend of French Quarter Festival – the largest free music
festival in the South.
Sponsors for French Quarter Festival include: Capital One Bank (Presenting Sponsor), Harrah’s Foundation, Abita Brewing Company, Southern Comfort, General Motors Corporation (GMC Trucks), Coca-Cola, WWL-TV, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Rouses Market, French Market Corporation, Cox Business Louisiana, Chevron, Louisiana Office of Tourism, Musician’s Performance Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Louisiana State Museum, Community Coffee, Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans as administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans, nola.com, Louisiana Lottery, BMI, Continental Airlines, Pat O’s on the River, Hard Rock Café, Court of Two Sisters, Tulane Medical Center, Tulane Hospital for Children at Tulane Medical Center, applitite, New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, Rolland Lock and Safe, Whole Foods, TRS – The Registration System, WWOZ 90.7 FM, OffBeat magazine, Where Y’at magazine, Windsor Court Hotel, Café Beignet, NOLA Jitterbugs, Fleur de Lindy, dancingman504.com, dancequarter.com, NOLA Baby & Family Magazine, Musical Legends Park, Preservation Hall, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center, NewOrleans.com, Louisiana Cookin’, Louisiana’s Health & Fitness Magazine, Vocero USA, The New Orleans Levee, Taste of the South Magazine, WWNO 89.9FM, WWL AM870, 102.5 WFMF, 96.1 KRVE, AM1150 WJBO, 101.5 WYNK, 107.5 KCIL, 106.3 KXOR, 96.7 KMYO, and 1490AM KJIN.
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. For more information about any of these events, call (504) 522-5730 or visit www.fqfi.org.
WHAT: TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Festival!) Kickoff Party
Annual Fundraiser for French Quarter Festival
WHERE: new location! House of Blues
225 Decatur Street
WHEN: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $55 through April 1st ($65 after April 1)
FOR MORE INFO: Call 504-522-5730 or purchase tickets online at www.fqfi.org
NEW ORLEANS – French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI), producers of the largest FREE music festival in the South, French Quarter Festival, will usher in this year’s festival season with the official kickoff party at its annual fundraiser, TGIF (Thank Goodness it’s Festival!), Wednesday, April 6th at 7:00 p.m. at the House of Blues – an exciting new festival partner.
TGIF Tickets are $55 through April 1st and $65 beginning April 2th. Proceeds from ticket sales go toward keeping French Quarter Festival FREE and open to the public. Admission includes Abita beer, Southern Comfort cocktails, Coca-Cola products and a very special gospel brunch menu. Entertainment for the evening will include music by Little Freddie King and Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters. FQFI will raffle off an exciting array of gifts including New Orleansthemed treasures and adventures. The event is open to the public and dress is jazzy casual. In 2010, over 1,100 guests attended the kickoff party.
The 28th Annual French Quarter Festival takes place on April 7, 8, 9, and 10. A complete listing of music schedules, menus and events can be found at www.fqfi.org. French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which also produces Satchmo SummerFest in August and Christmas New Orleans Style in December. FQFI promotes the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans through high quality special events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage of this unique city, contribute to the economic well being of the community, and instill increased pride in the people of New Orleans.
Little Freddie King has been playing the blues in New Orleans for over 50 years. Little Freddie King (born Fread E. Martin) was born in 1940 in McComb, Mississippi. His style was so often compared to his mentor, blues legend Freddie King, that he earned the nickname “Little Freddie King”. The son of a blues-man, the young King taught himself to play guitar. He moved to New Orleans at the age of 14 where developed his own style of “gut-bucket” blues in juke joints. During the 1950’s he played with the likes of Polka Dot Slim, Guitar Grady, Guitar Ray, Snooks Eaglin, Billy Tate, Rev.Charles Jacobs, Harmonica Williams, Boogie Bill Webb and Eddie Lang. He recorded the 1969 electric blues album, Harmonica Williams and Little Freddie King, in New Orleans. He toured Europe with Bo Diddley, Texas Alexander and John Lee Hooker in 1976. King’s most recent album, Gotta Walk With Da King was released in 2010 to high praise. King was inducted to the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in October, 2010.
Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. and The Zydeco Twisters are considered Zydeco’s royal family. The legendary Rockin’ Dopsie, Sr., (Alton Rubin), was known around the world as the “crown prince of Zydeco”. He died in 1993, performing the classic Creole accordion until his death. His sons vowed to keep the memory of their father alive by continuing the music tradition they grew up watching their father perform. Wash-board player, David Rubin, a.k.a. Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. fronts the band that includes brothers Tiger, (Alton Rubin, Jr.), on drums and Anthony on button
accordion. Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. is well known for his explosive dance moves and charismatic stage presence. The band has performed for President Bill Clinton, shared the stage with Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, BB King, The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, and Jimmy Buffet. Dopsie and his brothers performed with Britney Spears and Mystikal on MTV’s two-hour Mardi Gras special in 2000 as well as recording with Paul Simon, Cindy Lauper and Bob Dylan. Rockin’ Dopsie and The Zydeco Twisters have brought their unique style of Zydeco rhythms across the country and all over the world.
In a city known for its delicious and diverse cuisine, even festivals are known for serving world-class food. During the 28th annual French Quarter Festival (Thursday, April 7 – Sunday, April 10, 2011) festival-goers will enjoy signature offerings at the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.”
The 2011 festival welcomes some great new restaurants including Dickie Brennan’s, Dunbars Creole Cooking, Mona’s, Red Fish Grill and Oceana. Food and beverage booths are located in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint and make up the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.” Authentic local cuisines from the area’s finest restaurants are featured, including such festival favorites as Crawfish Bread, Cochon de Lait, Crawfish Bisque, Hot Sausage Po-boys, Cajun Meat Pies, and more. Foodies will also enjoy Crawfish and Goat Cheese Crepes, Fish Tacos, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, and Creole Cream Cheese ice cream. In addition to all of the wonderful food items, the festival offers an array of refreshing beverages including Abita Beer, Southern Comfort cocktails and daiquiris, Coca-Cola products, Hurricanes, and Plum Street Sno-Balls. Most menu items range in price from $3 – $7 to keep the festival not only fun, but affordable.
In order to maintain the authenticity and quality of the cuisine, the Jazz Brunch Committee follows specific criteria for participating in the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch”. In order to qualify, vendors must be dine-in restaurants from the New Orleans region. French Quarter Festival is able to feature an array of New Orleans’ culinary finest, including Anotine’s, Begue’s, Desire Oyster Bar, Ristorante Carmelo, Trey Yuen Cuisine, and Tujague’s – all of whom participated in the first-ever French Quarter Festival in 1984. Patrons can also enjoy an assortment from new participants such as Royal House, Little Tokyo, Lakeview Harbor, House of Blues, Pearl’s Catering, and Quintin’s Ice Cream.
Visit www.fqfi.org to see the complete food and beverage menu. The “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch” is served daily from 11 am – 7 pm Friday through Sunday in Jackson Square and at the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint, and 11:00am- 9:00pm in Woldenberg Riverfront Park on Friday and Saturday and from 11:00am – 7:00pm on Sunday.
The 2011 French Quarter Festival is produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., (FQFI) the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which also produces Satchmo SummerFest and Christmas New Orleans Style. For more information on French Quarter Festival, call 504-522-5730 or visit online at www.fqfi.org.
World’s Largest Jazz Brunch
2011 French Quarter Festival food & beverage concessions as of February 9, 2011:
Ba Mien Vietnamese Cuisine
Begue’s @ The Royal Sonesta
Between the Bread (EAT)
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Buttermilk Drop Bakery
Clock Bar @ Chateau Bourbon Hotel
The Court of Two Sisters
Crepes a la Cart
Crescent City Pie and Sausage
Daiquiri Delight Shop
Desire Oyster Bar @ Royal Sonesta
Dunbar’s Creole Kitchen, Inc.
Flour Power Confectionery
Hard Rock Cafe
House of Blues
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
Love At First Bite
Muriel’s Jackson Square
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
Original New Orleans Po Boys
Plum Street Snowballs
Quintin’s Ice Cream
Ralph and Kacoo’s
Red Fish Grill
Ted’s Frostop/Mrs. Wheat’s Pies
Trey Yuen Cuisine of China
Two Guys Sausage at Italian Pie
Vaucresson Sausage Co., Inc.
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. – The Facts!
For more information: web: www.fqfi.org phone: 504-522-5730
In 2011 – French Quarter Festival celebrates its 28th Anniversary; Christmas New Orleans Style celebrates its 26nd anniversary; and Satchmo SummerFest celebrates its 11th anniversary.
French Quarter Festival was first produced in 1984 as a way to bring residents back to the Quarter; following the World’s Fair and extensive sidewalk repairs in the French Quarter.
More than 1,500 community volunteers help to make the festival a success
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. receives no funding from the City of New Orleans.
French Quarter Festival is the largest, free music festival in the South.
Chief sources of funding are: sponsorships, beverage and merchandise sales, vendor fees and the TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Festival!) kickoff party in April.
18 stages throughout the French Quarter celebrate local music and represent every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R & B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, latin, zydeco, classical and international.
New Orleans great restaurants, create the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch” in Jackson Square, the Old U.S. Mint and Woldenberg Riverfront Park during festival weekend; Satchmo SummerFest hosts ‘Red Bean Alley’ with Satchmoinspired dishes and great local cuisine. Only local restaurants are invited to participate in these festivals.
French Quarter Festival has been consistently voted ‘favorite festival’ by locals.
French Quarter Festival 2010 attendance – over 512,000 people
Satchmo SummerFest 2010 attendance – over 26,000 people
French Quarter Festival attendees are 50% residents and 50% visitors
Satchmo SummerFest attendees are 42% residents and 68% visitors
Visitors from as many as 37 states have attended FQF. Top 5 states – Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Florida, Texas
Visitors from as many as 12 countries have attended FQF: top Countries – US, Canada, Japan, Germany
According to an analysis of the French Quarter Festival Visitors Survey conducted by The University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center, French Quarter Festival 2010 generated a total economic impact of more than $316 million, including $158.6 million in direct spending and $157.4 million in secondary spending. Additionally, the event generated over $25.3 million in state and local tax revenue.
FQF employs more than 800 local musicians during Festival weekend
FQF hosts over 70 local restaurants which make up ‘the World’s Largest Jazz Brunch’ at the Festival.
FQF employs only local companies during the Festival (sanitation, stages, sound, security, etc.). All money spent to produce the festival stays within the local economy.