Jazz Fest Gets The Bon Jovi Bump
Despite the sluggish economy, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival saw an increase in attendance over last year, setting a post-Hurricane Katrina record. Co-producers AEG Live and Festival Production are reporting that over 400,000 people attended the two-weekend concert, an increase of approximately 375,000 people from last year’s attendance numbers.
Attracting fans to the Jazz Fest were diverse acts like the Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon, the O’Jays, Joe Cocker, Drive-By Truckers, James Taylor, Wilco, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ben Harper & Relentless7, Emmylou Harris, Sugarland, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt, the Neville Brothers, Neil Young, and Buddy Guy, among others. Promoters, however, are crediting one act with helping to draw the increased numbers. On May 2, the final Saturday of the festival, Bon Jovi headlined, drawing in upwards of 90,000 festival attendees, setting the largest single day attendance record since 2005.
When asked about the importance of Bon Jovi’s presence at the festival, Randy Phillips, CEO of AEG Live said, “Probably 60,000-65,000 were in front of Bon Jovi’s stage.” He continued by saying that, “Bon Jovi’s enduring appeal manifested itself in one of the biggest days ever at Jazz Fest.”
Phillips also noted that the weather helped draw increased attendance saying, “We had two stars on that Saturday. Bon Jovi headlined and Mother Nature supported.”