May 10, 2014 5:10 PM by AP
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Producers of the New Orleans Jazz Fest estimate overall attendance for 2014 was 435,000.
That's slightly higher than 2013's total of 425,000, Nola.com ' The Times-Picayune reported.
The 2013 festival, however, was plagued by heavy rains on the first Sunday and between the weekends, rendering much of the Fair Grounds infield a muddy bog.
This year's festival enjoyed pretty much perfect weather for all seven days. Given that, that slight increase is a bit of a surprise. And neither year hit the 2012 mark of 450,000, the highest total Jazz Fest attendance since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
This year's crowds were, predictably, largest for the two "biggest" bands on the bill: Eric Clapton on the first Sunday and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band on the second Saturday. On both days, the audience swamped the Acura Stage field and extended all the way to the outer fence around the dirt track.
But the crowds were noticeably thinner for other headliners.
It was possible to navigate across the field, and even find a place to sit, for Phish, Santana, Christina Aguilera, the String Cheese Incident and, on the closing Sunday, Arcade Fire and Trombone Shorty.
The audience seemed to be distributed more evenly across the Fair Grounds this year.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly drew a big crowd to the Congo Square Stage and Robert Plant and John Fogerty each played to huge audiences at the Samsung Galaxy Stage (formerly the Gentilly Stage).
AXS TV broadcast 24 hours of coverage of multiple performances to a national audience.
The 46th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will be held April 24 to May 3, 2015.