If you want to get to know New Orleans, this is the festival to go to. I know, I know, the French Quarter is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country — but the French Quarter Festival is as local as local gets. Unlike Jazz Fest, which now caters to national touring acts, virtually every band that plays at French Quarter has a connection to Louisiana and plays the state’s famous brands of jazz, brass, cajun, and rock. Their New Orleans sound is different from what you hear on popular radio. It’s engineered for live performance and takes its instrumentals as seriously as its vocals. A brass instrument can easily qualify as a lead singer. In 2022, over 1,800 local music makers brought the easy New Orleans energy to French Quarter Fest, including local favorites like Water Seed, The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, The Soul Rebels, and Naughty Professor.
Come to this festival hungry: the food, too, is a survey of New Orleans’s best. Beloved creole restaurants like Jacques-Imo’s, Galatoire’s, Court of Two Sisters, and Miss Linda the Yakamein Lady joined roughly 50 other chefs at the festival in 2022. Best of all, this festival is free and open to the public. All you need to do is get to the perimeter and walk on in.
- French Quarter Fest is an outdoor festival that takes place throughout the French Quarter.
- 825,000 people attend.
- The festival is free.
- Here’s the festival’s app to help guide you through the weekend.
- The 2023 lineup has not yet been released, but you can check out last year’s lineup here.