The milestone 100th Louisiana Derby on March 30 is poised to be the biggest in track history with the creation of Infield Festival, a new entertainment experience at Fair Grounds to be headlined by native New Orleans rockers Cowboy Mouth. Details of the Infield Festival, which will also feature the largest food truck gathering in the city and exclusive VIP areas, were announced Tuesday by Fair Grounds officials at a press conference in the winner's circle.
"We only get one shot at our 100th Louisiana Derby and we intend to do it bigger and better than it's ever been done before," Fair Grounds President Tim Bryant said. "Expanding our signature day into the infield affords us the space to throw a different type of party from what our fans are used to. We can offer a wider array of hospitality options and, for fans of live music, a festival atmosphere with one of the city's favorite bands."
Infield Festival will mark the first time the green space within the track oval has been open to the public on a live racing day since the 1930s.
To access the infield without causing undue wear on the main track and turf course, fans will cross over a series of temporary bridges that will roll on and off the track between races. The ramps are on loan from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, where they are used to move tens of thousands into the infield for the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown on Preakness Day.
Infield Festival will combine the ingredients that has made the "Starlight Racing" night racing series a success with an outdoor Louisiana festival vibe. The food truck gathering will be the largest in New Orleans since Fair Grounds hosted the inaugural Street Fare Derby in 2011. The VIP offerings will include both mobile suites, identical to those at professional golf tournaments, and tented party areas. Cowboy Mouth will play to an infield where lawn chairs and blankets will be encouraged.
Infield Festival General Admission will be $25 with VIP packages starting at $60. Advance tickets will go on sale online in January.