The Next Festival

Editor's Note

In talking to Cheryl Landrieu, Jon Atkinson and Walter Isaacson for this month’s cover Q&A I could hear in their voices how excited they were about their new collaboration and that excitement was infectious.

When they shared that the goal would be for NOEW and the New Orleans Book Festival to come together to create a new festival of ideas, Jon specifically mentioned a dream would be to craft something akin to Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival — one of Texas’ largest festivals celebrating music, film and culture.

I took a girls’ trip to Austin last year that happened to coincide with this festival, so I got to see first-hand how it took over the city, but how big of an economic impact does it have?

- Sponsors -

According to the festival, in 2023 SXSW had a $380 million impact on Austin, which included the booking of nearly 11,500 hotel rooms. SXSW is held in March every year, (just like our NOEW and Book Fest). The festival was canceled in 2020, virtual in 2021, and scaled back in 2022, when the economic impact was estimated around $280 million. This is the first year that SXSW has been fully back, and it surpassed its pre-pandemic 2019 impact of $355 million.

Last year also marked a major expansion of SXSW with the inaugural SXSW Sydney in Australia. Held from Oct. 15-22, the festival included superstars like Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Chance the Rapper, as well as the biggest esports tournament in the world and a music festival with more than 300 performances.

(It’s worth noting here that New Orleans’ Carnival season still far outpaces SXSW with an estimated economic impact of over $891 million in 2023). Still, following up Mardi Gras with another festival the size of SXSW would obviously be a boon for the city.

- Partner Content -

Entergy’s Energy Smart Program Brings Cost Conscious Innovation to New Orleans

Offering comprehensive energy efficiency at no cost to the consumer, Entergy’s Energy Smart program incentivizes Entergy New Orleans customers to perform energy-saving upgrades in...

This collaboration, along with the addition of the 3rd Coast Venture Summit, is great news for this region, which I’m excited to see continues to move toward fully capitalizing on its innate strengths. Among those is a culture unlike anywhere else in the world — a fact we’ve all just experienced in a big way once again.

Here’s to keeping that momentum going.

Thanks for reading.

- Sponsors -

Kimberley Singletary

Kimberley Singletary, Editor

Digital Sponsors / Become a Sponsor

Follow the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in New Orleans.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter