Hotels fill quick for Bayou Country Superfest

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News,Business

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Baton Rouge hotel vacancies are quickly disappearing for the May 23-25 weekend and the annual Bayou Country Superfest.

The event will span three days this year. It drew about 70,000 people last year when it was held over two days.

"We anticipate the numbers to be record-breaking," said Paul Arrigo, president and chief executive of Visit Baton Rouge. "We certainly hope that would be the case because of the third day they added. They also have an excellent lineup, and that should help, too."

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1e2UBlO) at least 19 Baton Rouge hotels were sold out for the weekend, based on information from the website bayoucountrysuperfest.com/stay. Five other hotels reported vacancies only for Sunday. One reported vacancies only for Friday. Another reported having only double rooms available.

Festival Production Inc.-New Orleans' website notes that two-day ticket packages are no longer available but tickets for individual days remain. The company produces both the Superfest and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival annually.

Quint Davis, FPI-NO's chief executive, would not predict dollar amounts for ticket sales or the festival's economic impact on the Baton Rouge area this year. Davis added, however, that the impact will be much more noticeable than the $35 million estimated for the inaugural event in 2010.

"This extra night, Friday (May 23), is going to be the biggest night in the history of the festival," Davis said. "We're selling out in the upper decks of Tiger Stadium. It will be the biggest show in the history of the festival."

This year, the Friday lineup includes the nation's record holder for No. 1 hits of any genre, George Strait, who has posted 60 best sellers in his long career.

"We know as a certainty that this one (Superfest) is going to blow all the others away," Davis said. "The reason this festival is such a success is because the music audience is so good here. The word has gone out through the music industry — 'Man, that place, Baton Rouge, really rocks.'"

Davis said room rental numbers and sellouts are not the only gauge for figuring the economic impact of any event.

In 2010, he noted, many Baton Rouge rooms rented for rates ranging from $59 to $79 per night. He said some of those rooms now carry rates that range from $129 to more than $200.

Also booked solid are special travel packages that began at $939 for a two-night stay in a Renaissance Hotel room for two, sideline seats for two event days, two event T-shirts and shuttle service between the hotel and stadium.

The high end was $2,429 for three nights for two at the Renaissance; tickets for seats in front of the stage Friday; tickets for stage-front standing-room only on Saturday and Sunday; two T-shirts, and the shuttle service.

RV owners can purchase parking space at LSU's Touchdown Village at prices ranging from $350 to $550 per weekend pass.

In addition to Strait, Friday's lineup includes Reba McIntire and Chris Young.

Saturday's lineup includes Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Lee Brice, Easton Corbin and vocal group Gloriana.

Sunday features Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Big & Rich, Joe Nichols and 22-year-old Breaux Bridge native Hunter Hayes.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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