The largest free music festival in the South is back again this year. Prepare to pay tribute to the beauty of New Orleans’s French Quarter with this year’s French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron. This spring marks the 34th annual French Quarter Fest. As always, the festival will have music, food, and fun, with free admission for all! Last year’s attendance hit a record- breaking 760,000. Festival goers enjoyed the music, food, special events, and, of course, the historic French Quarter. Year after year, the French Quarter Festival is voted as a local favorite while also attracting a very large out-of-town audience.
This four-day celebration will be packed with music. Since 1984, the French Quarter Festival has been committed to featuring New Orleans artists every day of the festival on 23 stages all over the French Quarter. Music genres range from traditional rock and jazz, to zydeco, R&B, and more. Artists featured at the festival include the Brass- A-Holics, The Dixie Cups, and the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. This year will also welcome 20 new acts to the festival. Some of this year’s debuts include: Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole, Cole Williams Band, Cupid, Messy Cookers Jazz Band, Mo’Fess, Love Evolution, Perdido Jazz Band, T’Monde, and Valerie Sassyfrass.
The festival takes place from April 6 thru 9. Within these four days, you will be able to purchase a multitude of foods and beverages from around the city at more than 60 food booths. Prices of food and drinks can range from $3 to $15. A number of restaurants have been with the festival since its beginning in 1984 and have been great partners for over 30 years, such as Antoine’s, Pat O’Brien’s, Trey Yuen, Tujague’s, and Vaucresson Sausage. Other festival favorites returning for 2017 include Galatoire’s, Muriel’s, and Praline Connection.
In addition to the music and great food, there will also be several special events including dance lessons, parades, art shows, and talks with some of the biggest legends in New Orleans music.
The idea for the French Quarter Fest was born in 1983, although the first festival did not take place until the following year. The mayor of New Orleans at the time, Dutch Moral, proclaimed that the first French Quarter Fest would take place in April of 1984 to commemorate some $7.2 million worth of New Orleans roads that had long been under construction. So, this first festival wasn’t originally meant just for indulging in music and good times, it was also a way to celebrate the end of 14 weeks of construction. But what started as a neighborhood festival and locals’ affair has grown into the largest event in Louisiana behind Mardi Gras, with an average economic impact of approximately $190 million.
The 2016 French Quarter Festival featured iPhone and Android phone apps, created by festival sponsor GE Digital, which were available free of charge and will be coming back this year. 2016 saw an increase in the number of users, bringing the total to over 70,000 app fans since 2010. In partnership with New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and Solomon Group, the festival launched a Social Media Lounge to provide new ways for fans to engage with the event. The French Quarter Festival relies on strong community support to present the kickoff to festival season in New Orleans with nearly 1,500 volunteers, 300 musical acts, and numerous generous sponsors.
The French Quarter Festival continues its partnership with Whitney Bank and is now welcoming a new partner, Cinema on The Bayou, which will offer the “Whitney Bank Film Festival at French Quarter Festival.” Filmmaker Pat Mire, a prize-winning filmmaker based in Lafayette, Louisiana, founded Cinema on the Bayou Film Society. Whitney Bank Film Fest at French Quarter Festival takes place at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré—one of the oldest community theaters in the country. Some of the films in the lineup include Dew Drop, I Am the Blues, and Coals to Newcastle.
The French Quarter Festivals Inc., the company behind the fest, also announced that two of their children’s areas will return for this year’s festival. The Chevron Children's Headquarters, featuring the Chevron STEAM Zone, will return to the Steamboat Natchez Wharf at the foot of Toulouse Street. A second children's area, located in the beautiful courtyard gardens of the Hermann- Grima House (820 St. Louis St.), will also host two full days of kid-friendly fun on Saturday, April 8, and Sunday, April 9, including archaeology, crafts, giveaways, and educational projects.
This year’s French Quarter Festival is going to be packed with tons of free music and fun. Taste great food and enjoy many fabulous artists under the New Orleans sun. Come celebrate the beauty of the city at the French Quarter Festival 2017!
Please find the day-to-day music lineup for French Quarter Fest below!