Superfest boosts Baton Rouge economy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 6:52pm

The 2012 Bayou Country Superfest lineup is out. It's happening for the third year in a row in Tiger Stadium on Memorial Day weekend. Organizers say the ten acts taking the stage in May are some of the biggest in the country.

Fans will hear from huge stars like Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, and Rascal Flatts.

Parish leaders say the event has become the premiere country music festival in the nation, putting Baton Rouge on the map, and it also gives the Capitol City economy a big boost.

It used to be that Memorial Day weekend was slow around here, but that was before the Bayou Country Superfest came to town. In each of the last two years, the massive show has brought about 80 thousand people to Tiger Stadium

"They tailgate like they would for a football game or concert," says Darin Smith, the general manager for Walk-Ons.

This year, city leaders expect the concert to bring in 25 and 30 million dollars to the local economy directly.

"Last year, we saw a lot of people coming to Baton Rouge. We have to continue to make it happen," says East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden.

It's not just ticket sales to the stadium that bring the big bucks. Local businesses cash in on this festival weekend too.

"It's comparable to gameday weekend for us with that many people," Smith says.

Smith says Walk-Ons, just right down the road from the stadium, makes the same amount of money during the festival as they do in regular months of business.

They're not the only ones reaping the benefits. "People are stopping for gasoline, groceries, bars, ticket sales, hotels," says Paul Arrigo, the CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

That's why leaders want to keep it around. Back in May, officials were facing money issues and they weren't sure they'd be able to book the show, but they used BP money and tourism funds to make it work.

"Once you hit a speed bump in the road, you can't give up," says Holden.

He says it's worth the extra push to bring fans back for another year.

Tickets go on sale for Superfest Thursday October 20th. Click here for details.

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