The 35th Annual French Quarter Fest attracts thousands, but rain dampens 2018 numbers

NEW ORLEANS — The 35th annual French Quarter Festival attracted more than 560,000 festival-goers, compared to roughly 700,000 attendees last year.

Participants still enjoyed world-class music, food and special events, although Saturday was rained out.

Emily Madero, the president and CEO of FQFI, says the festival made history this year by bringing in a record number of music debuts, new culinary options, the Abita Beer Garden, and new partnerships.

“We are grateful to the massive number of fans who came out to show their love and support for New Orleans music and culture,” Madero said.

A total of 1,700 Louisiana musicians were scheduled and committed to the festival’s mission to showcase New Orleans culture and contribute to the economic well-being of the community. Musical highlights included Irma Thomas, John Boutte, Jon Cleary, and Cyril Neville’s Swamp Funk, to name a few.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu says French Quarter Fest is another reason to celebrate the uniqueness of New Orleans.

“Despite the rain out Saturday, the crowds were fantastic and the atmosphere was electric,” Landrieu said. “As the largest free music festival in the nation, this year’s event had something for everyone and was a perfect showcase of our city’s rich culture.”

French Quarter Festival was started to support neighborhood businesses during the 1984 World’s Fair street construction – a tradition that the FQFI organization strives to maintain each year.