Looking Ahead, Pt. 2


I received the following email from a reader. I can’t vouch for his sources, but he suggests the recession may be having an effect on Jazz Fest attendance:

Alex…I don’t know whether the business writers of T-P or the weekly business magazine do any preview reporting, but I have anecdotal evidence:  Hilton Riverside offered its low prices via priceline.com 10-14 days earlier this year [on 3/26 @ $65] compared to 2008/2007 [prices were $55 last year, $60 in 2007, sometime around April 7th].  Other chains followed, again earlier than usual; I’m at the Residence Inn New Orleans for $60 for the first five nights, then at the Hilton for the final eight nights.  This may only mean that in the previous two years this Hilton had a convention during JazzFest [last year I was lucky to find ANY room downtown on the final Saturday] and this year they don’t, so perhaps this is not an indicator of JazzFest attendance.  Marriott Convention Center for the days between the weekends went for $43 on priceline.com, lowest I can remember!  Maybe those who drive in from nearby regions will offset any loss of attendance from those who need to pay for airfares.  But it’s also telling that only one evening concert sold out in advance thus far [Galactic boat cruise], unlike last year when others were gone very quickly.

  • FYI – the reader who emailed you, the source was very likely my own website. I track Priceline and Hotwire results for Jazzfest at http://jazzfest.swagland.com/bidding.html (prior year result links are at the bottom). The data above match what’s on my site. My own sources are folks who email me; I have no way to verify that they are valid, but after several years, there’s no evidence of falsity – many bids are matched by other readers with similar results.

    In any case, I do agree with the premise. Not just the opaque sites, but hotel rates are down across the board and availability is up. The public negotiated hotel rates on the Jazzfest website are as low as I can recall in recent years. I hope the Fest is a success, financially, but I expect the crowds will be a bit thinner this year, and if that means a shorter wait for my crawfish beignet combo plate, well okay…

    Have a great Jazzfest, everyone!