- APRIL -
Louisiana International Film Festival, Cinemark Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge, lifilmfest.org
LIFF provides an outlet for filmmakers and musicians from across the globe to meet and interact, as well as to screen some excellent films for everyone. This event brings a spirited and eclectic mix of world-class moviemaking, from acclaimed independent narratives and documentaries, to big-budget studio pictures, and the best in international film.
NOLA Navy Week & Tall Ships, New Orleans Riverfront, tallshipsnola2018.com
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships will mix with ships from Canada and Great Britain, and they’re all arriving in New Orleans for this nautical event. Vessels will arrive along the riverfront from the Port of New Orleans to the Nicholls Street Wharf on Thursday and will be open to the public for tours on Friday.
April 20-May 18
Music and Market, every Friday, Le Vieux Village/Farmers Market Pavilion, Opelousas, cityofopelousas.com
Music & Market takes place in historic Opelousas and continues every Friday through May 18. The outdoor music series spotlights some of Louisiana’s best musical artists, while fresh, homegrown vegetables will be available for purchase directly from local farmers. The event opens at 5:30 p.m., with music beginning at 6 p.m.
Cajun Festival, Visitation of Our Lady Catholic Church, Marrero, vol.org/cajunfest
The third weekend in April brings thousands of visitors to the Visitation of Our Lady school grounds for great music, delicious food, and more fun than your weekend should allow! Proceeds fund the school’s new multipurpose building, which provides gym, meeting, and classroom facilities for the school. Musical acts include the Chee-Weez and Amanda Shaw.
Festa Italiana, 400 Block of Williams Boulevard, Kenner, italianheritagefestival.com
Kenner’s Italian Heritage Festival is a fun-filled family event offering live music, food, rides, games, and crafts. There is free street parking all around the festival grounds, and Williams Boulevard will be closed from Kenner Avenue to Reverend Richard Wilson Drive. Admission is $5 for adults, while children 12 years and under get in free.
New Orleans Poetry Festival, New Orleans Healing Center, Marigny, nolapoetry.com
Come to the New Orleans Poetry Fest to participate in three days and nights of poetry readings and performances, panel discussions, fiction events, a book sale, musical acts, slam events, walking tours, open mic at the famous Maple Leaf Bar, and much more. Visit the festival’s website for ticket purchases and a complete listing of events.
Third Street Songwriter’s Festival, Baton Rouge, thirdstreetsongwritersfestival
An annual event in Downtown Baton Rouge, this festival features local, regional, and national songwriters, along with an industry panel of music publishing professionals from Nashville. Participating songwriters will be able to perform and have their songs critiqued by the panel. After receiving their critiques, songwriters can showcase their music in venues along Third Street.
Bursting With Speed, Mardi Gras Fountain, New Orleans Lakefront, runnotc.org/races/2018/burst.
The 4th annual Bursting With Speed 5K and half-mile races award $6,500 in prizes to winners in numerous race categories. The race honors dedicated runner and family man Benny Burst, who lost his battle with Leukemia in late 2013. The money raised for the race is donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Music Fest 2018, Lafreniere Park, Metairie, casajefferson.org/music-fest-
This free family event takes place in the Al Copeland Concert Meadow at Lafreniere Park and features live music by Just Right Band, Gravity A, Khris Royal and Dark Matter, and DJ Mattik. Kids can showcase their video game skills in the gaming tent, enjoy face painting and bounce houses, and compete against each other in soccer.
New Orleans Mini Maker Faire, Orleans Avenue and Victory Drive, neworleans.makerfaire.com
This festival is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do, from engineers and artists to scientists and crafters. Maker Faire is the perfect venue to accentuate their hobbies, experiments, and projects. Over the five years this festival has been around, participation has grown over 400 percent.
Tulane University Crawfest, LBC and Newcomb Quads on Tulane’s Uptown Campus, crawfest.tulane.edu
An annual music, food, and arts festival located on Tulane’s Uptown campus, Crawfest brings together students and the community to enjoy music from bands on two stages, 20,000+ pounds of crawfish, and dozens of local food and art vendors. The festival includes unlimited crawfish and soft drinks, and is free to all current Tulane students and children under 12.
Angola Spring Prison Rodeo, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, louisianatravel.com/la-events/
This is an all-day, full-blown arts and crafts festival, complete with entertainment, food galore, and, of course, a rodeo. The arts and crafts festival begins at 9 a.m. and continues through the rodeo, which begins at 2 p.m. each Sunday in October. Not a rodeo fan? Many folks come just for the arts and crafts.
Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week, Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park, Lafayette, lafolkroots.org/events/balfa-
Incorporating intensive classes on fiddle, guitar, and accordion; participatory teaching sessions on Cajun and Creole vocals; instructor-coached band labs; and nightly dances with fantastic Cajun and Creole artists, Balfa Week bills itself as “The Greatest Week of Cajun and Creole Culture on the Planet!” Some of the instructors include Gina Forsyth, Courtney Granger, and David Greely.
Pinchapalooza, Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant, Bucktown, pinchapalooza.com
Located in the adjacent lot next door to Deanie’s Seafood in Bucktown, this fun-filled free event features delicious crawfish dishes from Deanie’s kitchen, crawfish-eating contests, and crawfish races for the kids. Oh, and there’s a terrific live music lineup with performances by Cowboy Mouth, the Topcats, the Bucktown All-Stars, and Vince Vance and the Valiants.
Heritage Day, Destrehan Plantation, Destrehan, destrehanplantation.org
Attendees will experience what life was like for both free people of color and slaves who worked on plantations in the 18th and 19th centuries. Attendees can enjoy Colonial-period music, candle making, blacksmithing, and more. Student, teacher, and chaperone tickets are $7, but for every 25 students, a teacher gains free admission.
Festival International de Louisiane, Downtown Lafayette, festivalinternational.org/
The 32nd annual festival celebrates the French history and culture integral to South Louisiana, featuring free music by a variety of performers and numerous options for food and fun. Come out and experience music from the Czech Republic, Gambia, Iran, Mali, and elsewhere. Don’t worry about using Porta Potties, because this event offers clean restrooms with air conditioning.
Zoo-To-Do for Kids, Audubon Zoo, audubonnatureinstitute.org/
The 30th annual Zoo-To-Do for Kids will feature live entertainment (music and dance), games, crafts, inflatables, face painting, and food from vendors such as Biscuits & Buns on Banks and Slice Pizzeria. Audubon staff will be onsite to provide interactions with hand-held animals and bugs, and to provide learning experiences for the kids.
Etouffée Festival, St. John Francis Regis Church, Arnaudville, louisiana.kitchenandculture.
The annual Etouffée Festival in Arnaudville is a great event for the entire family. Festivities include carnival rides, award-winning bands, bingo, an auto show, and plenty of étouffée. Come and get a taste of the competition at the Mayor's Cook-Off, including crawfish, seafood, vegetables, and even wild game. This festival is held the fourth weekend of April every year.
April 27-29/May 3-6
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Fair Grounds Race Course, nojazzfest.com
Jazz Fest is the celebration of the unique culture and heritage of New Orleans. Featuring an endless amount of music, succulent local and regional delicacies, one-of-a-kind handmade arts and crafts, second lines, and daiquiris, there is something for everyone at Jazz Fest. This year’s headliners include Aerosmith, Sting, LL Cool J, and Jimmy Buffett.
Louisiana Earth Day, LSU Campus, Baton Rouge, laearthday.org
One of the nation’s largest environmental festivals will take place Sunday, April 17, in Downtown Baton Rouge. The festival features hands-on educational activities for all ages and live entertainment on several stages. Regional music and food remind us to enjoy and celebrate the unique culture and beauty of our state, while Earth Day helps us to preserve it.
Instruments A Comin’, Tipitina’s, tipitinas.com/events
This uniquely New Orleans celebration begins with an outdoor festival, silent auction, a battle of the marching bands, and a performance by Tipitina’s interns. An indoor concert follows with proceeds used to support New Orleans public school band programs. This festival has now placed more than $3.2 million worth of musical instruments in over 100 Louisiana schools.
April 30-May 2
NOLA Crawfish Festival, Central City BBQ, nolacrawfishfest.com
The NOLA Crawfish Festival is one of a kind in New Orleans, with three days of music, beer, and hot boiled crawfish from NOLA Crawfish King. Local breweries such as Port Orleans will be on hand with their flagship brews for the perfect accompaniment to the mounds of mudbugs and fixings you’ll be consuming.
- MAY -
Bluegrass Festival, Deville, bluegrassdog.com
Creole and Zydeco aren't the only types of music in the Pelican State. For 39 years, the small town of Deville has hosted the Hickory Grove Bluegrass Festival, featuring bluegrass and gospel music. Bring your instruments to the impromptu jam sessions, or buy lunch, dinner, beverages, or snacks at the concession stand. No alcohol is allowed on the premises.
Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair, Thibodaux Fire Department Fairgrounds, Thibodaux, firemensfair.com
The Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department invites you and your family to join them at the 133rd annual Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair, Southeast Louisiana’s largest and hottest fundraising fair. Come support volunteer firefighters while enjoying delicious food, cold drinks, plenty of games and rides, and live music from 90 Degrees West, Dylan Scott, and others.
Louisiana Pirate Festival, Lake Charles Civic Center, Lake Charles, visitlakecharles.org/events-
Unique to Lake Charles, this festival celebrates the legend of pirate Jean Lafitte, who allegedly buried his treasure somewhere along the lake. Pirates of all ages are encouraged to come out during the two-week-long festival, which features carnival rides, games, entertainment, and live music on multiple stages. The festival closes with a spectacular fireworks display over beautiful Lake Charles.
Whitney Zoo-To-Do, Audubon Zoo, audubonnatureinstitute.org/ztd
Attend one of the most chic galas the Audubon Zoo has to offer, the Whitney Zoo-to-Do. Held annually the first Friday of May, Zoo-to-Do is an adult-only, black-tie fundraiser benefiting the Audubon Institute. Dance under the oaks while enjoying fine dining from over 70 restaurants, premium cocktails from more than 30 bars, and amazing auction prizes.
Mayfest, Vernon Parish Courthouse, Leesville, vernonparish.org/mayfest
Mayfest, winner of the Louey Award 2012 Festival of the Year, is an annual event held in historic Downtown Leesville the first weekend in May. Bring your lawn chairs and sit out on the courthouse lawn while enjoying two free days of family fun with live music, artists, vendors, plenty of food, and children's activities.
Alex River Fête, Downtown Alexandria, cityofalexandriala.com
Take a trip to downtown Alexandria and celebrate the Alex River Fête. Arts organizations and programs have teamed up with the city of Alexandria to make this a fun event that everyone can enjoy. The three-day festivities include live music, food, boat races, and an art walk. Some of the bands include Mike Tam, Nayo Jones, and Hoochie Digs.
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Parc Hardy, Breaux Bridge, bbcrawfest.com
The world famous Crawfish Festival began in 1960 after Breaux Bridge was named the Crawfish Capital of the World in 1959. The festival includes crawfish in many forms, from food to races to crawfish-themed crafts and novelties, and has also become one of the largest gatherings of world-famous Cajun musicians, with 30 bands performing.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor Tomato Festival, Chalmette, olpsschool.org
Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church and School invites St. Bernard Parish residents and visitors to celebrate a local delicacy and kick off the Creole tomato season with delicious food, live local entertainment, games, and rides. The annual Tomato Queen Pageant is held on Saturday, and a 5K race and fun run takes place before the festival.
Jammin’ on Julia, 300-700 blocks of Julia Street, artsdistrictneworleans.com
This annual festival benefits the non-profit Arts District New Orleans. The event features 16 contemporary art galleries, three world-class museums presenting visual and performance arts, and numerous bars and restaurants all working together to reinforce the unique qualities of the Arts District. There will be art, refreshments, and music on the street, as well as inside the galleries.
Herb and Garden Festival, Marie Street, Sunset, sunsetherbfestival.com
Held the first Saturday in May, this event features everything for the garden enthusiast: plants, herbal products, pottery, garden art, and informative presentations. Get there early to attend the Master Gardener presentations. There will also be food and crafts for sale. Children are welcome to attend. Bring your wagon to load up, but no pets or ice chests allowed.
Louisiana Dragon Boat Races, Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, themuseum.org/ldbr
Experience authentic dragon boat racing down Bayou Teche. These boats are powered by 20 paddlers while one drummer keeps the beat. In addition to the races on the river, the event will feature art and food vendors, entertainment, and interactive art exhibitions. There are even contests for most team spirit and the best-dressed drummer.
Jazz In The Park Crab Festival, Armstrong Park, pufap.org
People United for Armstrong Park (PUfAP), the proud presenters of Jazz in the Park, partner with Budweiser to present the 2nd Annual Jazz in the Park Crab Festival in Armstrong Park, with music by Michael Franks & Loose Ends. This festival features the crustacean in dishes that range from dips and mac and cheese to soft-shell and boiled crabs.
Old Metairie Crawfish Festival and Cook-Off, St. Catherine of Siena Church and School, Metairie, gadamiii28.wixsite.com/
Come out for plenty of crawfish-themed fun at this sixth annual crawfish celebration. Celebrity judges vote for the best crawfish recipe, and winners will get an engraved crawfish pot! Festival guests can enjoy endless amounts of crawfish, hot dogs, and jambalaya. The festival also features live music, beer, and entertainment for the children.
Crawfish Mambo, University Center, University of New Orleans Campus, crawfishmambo.com
It’s the peak of the crawfish season, and this all-you-can-eat crawfish cook-off might be the best way to celebrate it. In addition to copious amounts of mudbugs, the event will feature local artists selling their work, as well as many live music acts. Mambo is family-friendly, and children seven and under are free.
Bayou Boogaloo features music, food, arts and handicrafts, and other sensory delights. Fest-goers can leisurely stroll about, grab some great New Orleans food items and a cold drink, and go sit by the waterside and enjoy it, while listening to the music of some of the city's top bands. The entire festival is free and open to the public.
Plaquemines Parish Seafood and Heritage Festival, Belle Chasse, plaqueminesparishfestival.com
Come celebrate the rich heritage of the people of Plaquemines Parish. Visitors will enjoy great local seafood and other food specialties.The festival offers continuous live music from popular local bands including traditional Cajun music, as well as crafts from local artisans, carnival rides, sandbagging contests, the Seafood Queen Pageant, and helicopter rides over the Mississippi River.
Louisiana Veterans Festival, Slidell, laveteransfestival.com
Hosted by the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity, this festival provides an opportunity for families and friends to celebrate our veterans and thank them for their service. The Louisiana Veterans Festival will offer a car show; high-level entertainment, including the WWII Museum Victory Belles; unique arts and crafts; food and beverages, and children’s activities.
New Orleans Food & Wine Experience, New Orleans, nowfe.com
NOWFE is one of the premier events in the Big Easy, showcasing what the city does best. In its 26th anniversary year, the festival has become one of the most incredible culinary events in the nation, attracting over 7,000 gourmands and connoisseurs, as well as art- and music- lovers, to enjoy wine pairings and food tastings.
New Orleans Greek Fest, Bayou St. John, greekfestnola.com
It’s that time of the year again: lamb gyros, baklava sundaes, and Hellenic dancing— Tricentennial edition! Enjoy authentic Greek food and music and take a tour of the oldest Greek Orthodox cathedral in America. Peruse the outdoor marketplace for jewelry, clothing, and festival wear. There’s even an Athenian playground for the kids. Opa!
Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival, Heritage Park, slidelljazzandblues.com
Benefitting Notes for Education Northshore, the 4th Annual Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival showcases the hottest up-and-coming area musicians and will feature a headlining performance by the Free Agents Brass Band. Be sure to bring the entire family for a day of music, food, and sno-balls! Blankets and chairs are encouraged.