Keith Spera of the Advocate reports:
Attendance for the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival totaled approximately 425,000, organizers said Wednesday.
That amount is the same as the 2016 attendance figure. Rain cut into ticket sales for both this year's and last year's festivals.
In 2015, Jazz Fest -- officially it is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell -- drew an estimated 460,000 attendees, the highest total since Hurricane Katrina.
Overall Jazz Fest attendance has still not rebounded to its pre-Hurricane Katrina levels.
In 2001, the estimated attendance was 650,000. That figure was boosted by what may have been the biggest single day in festival history, featuring the Dave Matthews Band and New Orleans rapper Mystikal, who was then at the peak of his popularity.
Matthews was back at the Fair Grounds in 2017, but as part of an acoustic duo with Tim Reynolds.
The only main Acura Stage act this year to fully fill the field and the large green bleachers at the back of it was Stevie Wonder.
Steady rains on the first Sunday delayed the festival's opening by four hours and diminished what likely would have been an enormous crowd for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
That day's rain depressed attendance overall on the first Sunday. Pitbull, who was to have closed the Congo Square Stage that evening, cancelled his show, reportedly because the day's storms prevented him from flying to New Orleans.
Contemporary R&B singer Usher, backed by "The Tonight Show" house band the Roots, as well as annual favorite Frankie Beverly & Maze filled the Congo Square Stage field. But that space is considerably smaller than the Acura Stage field.
The dates for the 2018 Jazz Festival, the 49th overall, are set for April 27 to May 6.