French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) proudly announces details about the 35th Anniversary French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron. The world's largest showcase of Louisiana music, food, and culture will take place April 12-15, 2018. Festival-goers can expect over 60 of New Orleans' favorite restaurants, music from more than 300 acts on 23 stages, and over a dozen special events.
"In 2018, as we reflect on our 35-year history, we are delighted to be consistently voted a locals' favorite and proud of the significant economic impact the event generates for New Orleans," said Emily Madero, President & CEO of FQFI. "Though the festival has evolved from a small neighborhood event, we have remained committed to our mission to support the local culture and economy. As we celebrate this banner year, we are excited to bring a record number of musical debuts, fresh menu items, new partnerships, and unique experiences that will both honor our heritage and embrace our future."
Here is what to expect in 2018:
More than 30 New Artists on 23 Stages: French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron organizers welcome more than 30 new acts to the 2018 festival. Those making debuts include Alfred Banks, Amanda Ducorbier, Chocolate Milk, Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble, Sweet Olive String Band, and Zachary Richard. Returning favorites include Cyril Neville, whose Swamp Funk is among the debuts, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Jon Cleary, Little Freddie King, recent Grammy-winners Lost Bayou Ramblers, and hundreds more! Since 1984, French Quarter Festival has been committed to featuring New Orleans' finest artists every day of the festival, on stages all over the French Quarter. The riverfront Abita Beer Stage brings four days of music from Brass-A-Holics, Sweet Crude, and many more. GE Digital Big River Stage returns with every genre from Bounce to Rockabilly; artists include Bill Summers & Jazalsa, Cole Williams Band, and Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles. On the Jack Daniel's Stage, artists include Erica Falls, Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs, and Zydefunk. The Chevron Cajun-Zydeco Showcase will turn Decatur Street into a dance party with performances from Amanda Shaw, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, and more. At the Tropical Isle Stage, the lineup includes Water Seed, Otra, and Corey Henry's Treme Funktet. The always-popular Popeyes Brass Band Jam will bring three full days of brass bands to the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint. Performers include Treme Brass Band, The Original Pinettes Brass Band, and Leroy Jones' Original Hurricane Brass Band. A complete lineup can be found at frenchquarterfest.org.
Stage News: Gateway to Bourbon and Ernie's Schoolhouse Stage: French Quarter Festival was started to support neighborhood businesses during World's Fair street construction. As FQFI celebrates its 35th birthday, the organization continues to honor that purpose. In 2018, with the 100 block of Bourbon Street now re-opened after months of construction, the FQFI team will bring music to the first block of Bourbon with the Gateway to Bourbon Street Stage, co-sponsored by Dickie Brennan & Co. Family of Restaurants, Associated Food Supply, Sysco, and TLC Linens. The goal is to spotlight and support affected businesses. Artists include Kid Simmons Jazz Band, Paulin Brothers Jazz Band, and The New Orleans Jazz Vipers. This year FQFI has partnered with The Helis Foundation and Preservation Hall to give festival attendees a unique opportunity to enjoy the sounds and sights of this local institution free of charge! The Helis Foundation Preservation Hall Stage will feature two days of some of New Orleans' best traditional Jazz including Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses and Kinfolk Brass Band. Returning sponsor Pan-American Life Insurance Group has committed to showcasing Louisiana songwriters at the Pan-American Life Insurance Group Songwriter Stage in its new location at House Of Blues' Big Mama's Lounge and Bourbon Heat and Bourbon Orleans Hotel have joined forces to co-sponsor the Heart of Bourbon Street Stage located in the 700 block of Bourbon.
FQFI has always been passionate about supporting young musical artists. This year, FQFI is unveiling a new initiative to honor its cultural heritage by investing in the future: Ernie's Schoolhouse Stage will give young artists the opportunity to perform at French Quarter Festival while gaining business and marketing skills to support their musical careers. Selected artists will participate in the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation workshop, which will take place a month prior to the festival and culminate in a weekend of performances on the stage located at Homer Plessey Community School at Royal and St. Philip Street. Ernie's Schoolhouse Stage artists include Landry Walker High School, Martin Luther King High School Brass Band, and NOCCA Jazz Ensemble. In addition to providing music-business education to the performers, the initiative allows FQFI to support their organizations by funding the performances.
Be Part of Our Fest Fam: Fans seeking a special way to enjoy French Quarter Festival or entertain clients now have a new option: the NOLA.com Fest Family Experience. In partnership with NOLA Media Group, FQFI proudly announces the launch of the VIP membership experience. Fest Family members will enjoy a hospitality lounge, an elevated viewing stand near the Abita Beer Stage, private bars, refreshments, air-conditioned restrooms, merchandise discounts, memorabilia, exclusive programming, and more. The VIP benefits will be available all four days of the event, which takes place April 12-15. A limited number of memberships are available. Become a member at frenchquarterfest.org.
A Showcase of New Orleans' Favorite Cuisine: In a city famous for its wealth of delicious and unique traditional food, French Quarter Festival gives attendees a taste of the best of the best. More than 60 vendors will feature cuisine from the finest restaurants in the region including classic New Orleans dishes as well as contemporary and fresh healthy options. A number of restaurants have been with the festival since its beginning in 1984 and have been great partners for over 30 years: Antoine's, Pat O'Brien's, Trey Yuen, Tujague's, Vaucresson Sausage, Desire Oyster Bar, and Court of Two Sisters. New restaurants to the 2018 festival include: Cafe Beignet, Café Dauphine, The Company Burger, The Daily Beet, Flamingo A-Go-Go, and SoBou.
Celebrating New Orleans Tricentennial: While French Quarter Festival is celebrating 35 years, the City of New Orleans is celebrating 300 years. As an official Tricentennial event, the 2018 festival will offer several ways for attendees to commemorate the anniversary. The Tricentennial Homecoming Pavilion, sponsored by New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, will be located near the Jack Daniel's Stage and open all four days of festival. The Pavilion will feature exhibits showcasing New Orleans notables throughout history, a hospitality lounge, and the One Time in NOLA story booth. In Jackson Square - the heart of festival - Hilton will sponsor the Hilton Tricentennial Stage with a four day lineup that includes John Boutté, Ellis Marsalis, and Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns.
"As New Orleans celebrates its Tricentennial, what better way to mark the occasion than by throwing a party with French Quarter Festival! Our Hilton Tricentennial Stage located in Jackson Square will bring four days of music from some of New Orleans' most legendary artists. This sponsorship is just one of the ways Hilton strives to provide authentic experiences, both inside and outside our properties," said Tiffany Lawson, Director of Destination Marketing for Hilton.
On Saturday, April 14, French Quarter Festival will celebrate the Tricentennial with fireworks on the Mississippi River immediately after the music ends on the Abita Beer Stage, at approximately 9 p.m.
Annual Gala Fundraiser Returns to Antoine's with New Date: French Quarter Fest's 35th-anniversary celebration kicks off nearly a month early, on March 15, 2018, with its annual gala fundraiser, held at Antoine's Restaurant. Established in 1840, Antoine's is the country's oldest family-run restaurant. During the Gala, guests will enjoy a curated menu of Antoine's favorites as well as all of the restaurant's famous rooms, like the Mardi Gras-themed Rex, Proteus, and 12th Night Revelers rooms. French Quarter Festival is the only time of the year when Antoine's allows a non-profit community organization to 'take over' - celebrating French Quarter Festival at this grand Gala event.
During the gala, the organization will recognize the late Fats Domino with Al "Lil' Fats" Jackson's Tribute to Fats. Mike Harvey's Hot Jazz will perform at the Patron Party, which takes place from 7-8 p.m., immediately before the Gala, which takes place from 8-10:30 p.m. Patrons will enjoy A Taste of the Fest with bite-sized versions of the fest's most popular and famous dishes throughout its history; vendors include Lakeview Harbor, Love at First Bite, Mrs. Wheat's Pies, Restaurant R'evolution, Rib Room, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Tujague's Restaurant, and Wink's Original Buttermilk Drop Café. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at fqfi.org. Patron tickets are $255 and Gala tickets are $180. In addition to single tickets, a limited number of tables are available.
Other Special Events, Programs, and Festival Extras
- French Quarter Festival Second-Line Kickoff Parade will take place Thursday, April 12 at 10 a.m. The parade departs from the 100 block of Bourbon Street and makes its way to Jackson Square.
- Let Them Talk: Conversations about Louisiana Music presented by Jones Walker will return to French Quarter Festival with presentations and performances at the Jazz Museum at the Mint, 3rd Floor Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday at the festival (April 14 and 15).
- FQF Film Fest presented by NCIS: New Orleans also returns in partnership with Cinema on the Bayou on Saturday and Sunday with films about Louisiana and Louisiana musicians at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré.
- Dance Lessons, Battle of the Bands, Dancing at Dusk, and a children's area, the Chevron Children's Headquarters STEAM ZONE, are beloved special events that all return for the 2018 French Quarter Festival.
Music Lineup as of February 20, 2018