This year’s French Quarter Festival suffered a major blow when inclement weather forced the cancellation of Day 3 on Saturday, April 14. Nonetheless, more than 560,000 festival-goers descended upon the Quarter to enjoy the remaining three days.
President and CEO of French Quarter Festivals, Inc. Emily Madero explained what made this year a record breaker despite the setback. “2018 brought a record number of music debuts, fresh new culinary options, the Abita Beer Garden, and new partnerships,” she said. This year’s cancellation marked the first in the festival’s 35-year-history, and for that reason too 2018 was a historic installment. According to a press statement, “A total of 1,700 Louisiana musicians were scheduled; committed to its mission to showcase New Orleans culture and contribute to the economic well-being of the community, FQFI paid artists whose shows were cancelled on Saturday in spite of the organization taking a major economic hit with the closure. In true New Orleans fashion, several of the compensated musicians, like Amanda Shaw, reached out to local venues and gave free performances.”
French Quarter Fest 2018 also marked the city’s tricentennial, bringing with it unique elements differentiating it from past and future festivals. As an official Tricentennial event, the fest featured the Tricentennial Homecoming Pavilion sponsored by New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and the One Time in New Orleans story booth where attendees shared their favorite memories about the city.
Also a first this year was the Nola.com Fest Family Experience, a VIP package raising funds to help produce the event and keep it free for the future. Furthermore, return sponsorship from Chevron solidified the success of 2018’s French Quarter Fest.
Mayor Landrieu called this year’s fest “a resounding success,” adding “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. And it was the perfect way to kick-off New Orleans Tricentennial celebration.”