Here in New Orleans we fest like it’s nobody’s business. Our festivals are known as some of the best in the world, and they celebrate and solidify our wonderfully unique culture. One of the best parts about many of our festivals is that they are absolutely free and welcome to all, and tourism is a big reason that they are able to stay that way.
Festivals like French Quarter Festival, Creole Tomato Festival, Satchmo Summerfest, and so many more in New Orleans are able to remain free and open to the public because of high, and growing, attendance. With big crowds buying food and drinks, the festivals are able to cover their costs and provide wonderful entertainment, and tourists bring a much needed boost to those attendance numbers. Visitor spending at festivals is crucial to the success, continuation, and even growth and expansion of many of our favorite festivals.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation puts on several free festivals throughout the year using the money from Jazz Fest ticket sales to pay for it. In this way, the thousands of tourists that attend Jazz Fest are paying for those festivals later in the year that are geared towards locals and celebrate different, more personal facets of our history and culture, like the Congo Square Rhythms Festival.
Welcoming tourists to our festivals brings so many benefits to our city. Besides the fact that we can be proud to share our culture with people eager to soak it up and experience it, every visitor that comes into New Orleans for a festival, also spends throughout our city, giving our local economy a boost in several ways. But even with all of those benefits aside, keeping many of our favorite festivals free and accessible to locals and visitors alike is an incredibly worthwhile reason to support our thriving tourism industry.