The 2014 Baton Rouge Blues Festival wrapped up on April 12 after a full day of beautiful weather in downtown Baton Rouge. Thousands of attendees were treated to a variety of music from 16 performers over three stages, ranging from legends performing Baton Rouge swamp blues to up-and-comers performing blues rock and everything in between. Six artists were interviewed during Backstage at the Blues Fest, giving attendees the chance to hear impromptu performances and stories from the performers in an intimate setting. Videos of these interviews will be available for viewing at batonrougebluesfestival.org in the coming weeks. There was a fantastic turnout in the Old State Capitol lobby, host to six bands playing 30 minute busking style-sets with about 100 attendees at the peak of the day. Of Moving Colors wowed the crowd at the Healthier Air for All Swamp Blues Stage with a surprise performance scaling the side of the River Center branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. The Kids Zone featuring a musical petting zoo and blues-themed storytime from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, in addition to 12 food vendors and 12 art vendors, rounded out programming for truly everyone to enjoy while moving between the three stages. The festival ended on a high note with record crowds enjoying "such a night" with the legendary Dr. John & The Nite Trippers.
- Based on visual observation, crowd density based on area square footage calculations and prior experience, the Baton Rouge Blues Festival estimates attendance to be in the range of 18,000-20,000 persons throughout the day at or around the festival site.
- American Routes, produced in New Orleans with Tulane University and distributed by PRX -- Public Radio Exchange, was on hand to record seven performances for an upcoming program this fall.
- The 2014 festival was made up of 12 steering committee members, 112 volunteers, 14 festival photographers/videographers, 12 food vendors, 12 art vendors, 22 total performers and 48 sponsors.
- Bike Baton Rouge parked more than 125 bikes at their free bike corral, with most attendees staying 4 hours or more.
- Coca-Cola estimated the 2014 festival as one of the top three single day events in Baton Rouge in terms of inventory sold, excluding LSU football games.
- Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne was in attendance to present Baton Rouge's own Kenny Neal with an Arts Ambassador award from the State of Louisiana.
- The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame along with the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation announced the induction of Tabby Thomas into their prestigious ranks of legendary Louisiana musicians.
- 2014's festival showed a 42% growth in revenue from 2013, and 97% from 2012. All proceeds generated benefit the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the promotion, preservation and celebration of the "Swamp Blues" music native to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
During and post-festival, attendees were asked to provide feedback on their experience. Here are some of the results:
- Over 70% of attendees stayed at the festival for more than 4 hours.
- Nearly 30% of attendees were newcomers.
- While the majority of those in attendance are from south Louisiana, nearly 13% traveled to Baton Rouge for the festival from cities such as Houston and Philadelphia and countries such as Scotland and France.
- Around 70% of attendees have previously attended the festival.
- While 80% were encouraged to attend because the festival is free, over 80% of attendees bought food and/or merchandise from one or more of our vendors.
- Over 97% plan to attend again next year.
Baton Rouge Blues Festival is a great experience for all ages, races and income levels that can only grow larger each year. Keeping the feedback from attendees in mind, organizers have already started planning for next year. Please mark your calendars for the 2015 Baton Rouge Blues Festival on April 11, 2015.