Jazz Fest retains Local Charm and Caps Off a Profitable Decade since 2004

After the 2004 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival lost money, there was talk of slashing the next year’s budget. But longtime Fest producer Quint Davis’ new partners at AEG Live advocated for the opposite strategy. They said you can’t cut your way out of this.

“This” refers to financial straits Jazz Fest found itself in, and some wondered if the show would go on.

David Oestreicher, who was acting president of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation immediately after that “tipping point” year, says, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Oestreicher and the Board worked behind the scenes to rescue Jazz Fest from it’s financial troubles.

What’s emerged 10 years after the Fest faced it’s most pressing problems is a stronger event, one that retains local charm, but now also brings in big name “guest” acts mostly from pop-rock genres, thanks to the work done during this time, and the financial pockets of AEG, which co-produces the Festival with Quint Davis’ Festival Productions, Inc.

To learn more about this transition of one of the oldest and most revered music festivals, see music writer, Keith Spera’s piece (published in The Times-Picayune and on Nola.com).

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