British pop star Natasha Bedingfield, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tito Jackson and country star Darryl Worley will highlight the three-day Family Gras festival that returns to Jefferson Parish after a one-year absence because of the Super Bowl run of the New Orleans Saints.
“”We have a very eclectic group of acts we’ve been able to attract . . . but make no mistake, the main purpose (of Family Gras) is to highlight the real purpose of Mardi Gras – the parades,” said Jefferson Parish President John Young.
The announcement was made at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Family Gras 2011 is scheduled for Feb. 25-27 in the median of Veterans Memorial Boulevard between Lakeside Shopping Center and Whole Foods Market.
Two stages are erected for the musical acts, but Family Gras also will feature dozens of arts and crafts in the Whole Foods parking lot and 14 food an drink vendors. New to this year’s festival, which started in 2007, is a Jester’s Kids tent and an Interview tent where fans can meet and talk with their favorite musicians.
Family Gras is an important economic event for the parish, with more than 80,000 people attending the 2009 festival, resulting in a $6.3 million economic impact, according to a study by the University of New Orleans, officials have said.
Additionally, there was an 83 percent occupancy rate for the parish’s 7,200 hotel rooms during the 2009 festival weekend.
In addition to the two stages and more than 20 bands and musical acts for this year’s festival, there also will be dozens of arts and crafts vendors located in the Whole Foods parking lot and 14 food and drink vendors.
Family Gras, which began in 2007, promotes Carnival in Jefferson Parish and offers concerts by national and local artists that are free to the public. This year, for the first time, a $99 pass will be available for people who want VIP backstage access and premium viewing access for all three days. Tickets will be available through Tickmaster beginning Tuesday.