If you want to get to know New Orleans, this is the live music 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. This year, expect another stacked bill of musical and culinary celebrations of Louisiana: Irma Thomas, Soul Queen of New Orleans, Poisson Rouge, The Iguanas, and Samantha Fish will all arrive at the Big Easy grounds this April. Check out the expansive 2023 culinary lineup here, too.
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 over four days 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. You can check out last year’s lineup here.
- When the lineup is announced you can expect a stacked bill of local musicians and a showcase of Louisiana music.
What are the festival hours?
- On Thursday and Sunday, the festival is 11-7pm. On Friday and Saturday, it’s 11-9pm.
What’s the parking situation?
- Parking will be challenging. If you plan to drive there, arrive early to park in these lots: French Market, 500 Decatur Street, 300 North Peters Street, 211 Conti Street, Canal Place and various locations within walking distance. Public transportation is probably your best bet.
Where is the festival held in New Orleans?
- French Quarter Festival is held throughout the French Quarter neighborhood. Stages are located at Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Bourbon Street, Royal Street, Bienville Triangle, Preservation Hall, the French Market, St. Mary’s at the Ursuline Convent, and New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint, according to the festival’s site. Food booths will be found in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, the Jax Brewery parking lot, and New Orleans Jazz Museum. Special events take place at various locations throughout the French Quarter. There’s also a map.
Who produces the festival?
- French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI), the nonprofit that also produces Satchmo Summerfest and Holidays New Orleans Style.
Is there a sponsor for the event?
- The French Quarter Festival is presented by Chevron.
Does the festival have an official address?
- French Quarter Festivals, Inc. is located at 400 North Peters.
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