May 1, 2013 2:05 PM
If you thought Festival International crowds were bigger this year, preliminary estimates are supporting your intuition.
According to Festival International Executive Director Dana P. Baker, the local fire marshal's closing off of the headlining show with The Wailers on Sunday afternoon was a strong indicator of the fest's continuing draw.
"It was a lot of people out for the shows," she said Wednesday. "Certainly it was successful."
Although final numbers will not be ready until sometime next week, Baker said the general feeling is that this year's festival drew 400,000 people to Lafayette over the five-day run of the event.
"It takes us a little while to shake out the numbers with clear heads and clear minds," she laughed.."It takes a week and a half or so. We use a combination of things. Revenue is one, but because it is a free open festival no one is counting attendance at the gate. Between revenue, recyclable tonnage and police crowd estimates, we can come up with a pretty good number."
Regardless of the quantity of the people in the crowd, Baker said she was most impressed by the quality of the festival's attendees.
"I am incredibly grateful for and humbled by the people who come out to support festival from our area," she said. "The people express how fiercely they love the music here compared to at paid events."