French Quarter Festival had record attendance

With sunny skies shining down on them, a record 733,000 people listened to music, danced in the shadow of St. Louis Cathedral and feasted on festival fare along the Mississippi River during the 31st annual French Quarter Festival, which ended Sunday, producers said.

According to figures released Monday, this year’s attendance eclipsed that of a year ago, when 560,000 people made their way to the four-day event.

Attendance at the free festival, which spans several locations in the Vieux Carre, is measured by FESS Inc., the festival’s security firm. The company counts people as they enter and leave areas where major stages are located. The attendance figure is then adjusted to account for repeat entrances and exits, event producer French Quarter Festivals Inc. said.

The attendance figure does not include people who visited smaller stages at the French Market and on Royal, Bourbon, Chartres and Decatur streets, or those who went to other special events, the producers said.

Beyond the attendance count, other measures also suggest a larger festival this year. Abita Brewing Co. said it sold 905 kegs of beer, up from 632 in 2013. Pelican Ice, meanwhile, delivered more than 236,000 pounds of ice, compared with 200,000 in 2013.

The festival included 21 music stages throughout the French Quarter and more than 115 food and beverage booths in Jackson Square, at the Old U.S. Mint, along Woldenberg Riverfront Park and on Decatur Street.