French Quarter Party
Sure, it might not be strictly the very first festival of the year, but the French Quarter Fest is undoubtedly the start of festival season. Back after the two-year Covid hiatus, the free festival returns to nourish your body and soul with great music, delicious food and thirst-quenching drinks.
This year’s lineup is packed with local talent, kicking off April 21 with Lost Bayou Ramblers, Sweet Crude, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet and more. Friday will see George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners, Tuba Skinny, Valerie Sassyfras and the one and only Irma Thomas take the stage, among many others.
On Saturday, things really start. There will be a host of established and newer acts including Amigos do Samba, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles, Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr. and the Wild Magnolias, Trombone Shorty Academy, John “Papa” Gros and the Daquiri Queens.
The festival ends strong, with a full day of performances by Little Freddie King, Alfred Banks with SaxKixAve, the Zulu Gospel Choir, Washboard Chaz, Cameron Dupuy and the Cajun Troubadours and many more.
There will also be a new series of small evening concerts officially associated with the festival. Baptized French Quarter Fest After Dark, these shows will be held on Thursday April 21 at the Double Dealer, Friday April 22 at the Trois Clés de l’ACE Hôtel, Saturday April 23 at the Hôtel Saint Vincent and Sunday April 24 at the Midnight Revival. from the Frenchman Hotel. Ticket information and who will perform are yet to be determined, so check the festival website for more information.
As usual, the festival features an impressive array of local food vendors, including Jack Dempsey’s, Plum Street Snoballs, 14 Parishes, Addis NOLA, Desire Oyster Bar and WWOZ’s Mango Freeze. And Abita Beer will flow as usual to keep you well lubricated.
The music is spread across 20 stages along the river and in the French Quarter, so fans can set up camp near their favorite stage or stroll to whatever suits them. Details are on frenchquarterfest.org.
The doors are open for a spring calendar full of festivals and events.
Jazz Fest returns to the fairgrounds from April 29 to May 1 and May 5 to 8.
Hogs for the Cause returns to the grounds of UNO Lakefront Arena on April 1-2.
BUKU celebrates its 10th anniversary on March 25-26 at the Market Street Power Plant site.