The 35th anniversary French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron will take place April 12-15, 2018. The annual event, known as the highly anticipated “kickoff the festival season” in New Orleans, brings food from dozens of New Orleans’ favorite restaurants, music from 300 acts on 23 stages, and over a dozen special events.
French Quarter Festival was started to support neighborhood businesses during World’s Fair street construction in 1984. Jackson Square, the heart of the neighborhood, hosted one of the first stages and has continued to remain one of the festival’s premier destinations. What started as a small community event has grown into the world’s largest showcase of Louisiana music, food, and culture. More than 1,700 Louisiana musicians perform at the event which now attracts a large international audience while consistently being voted “best local festival” by New Orleanians.
Throughout its history, French Quarter Festival has remained committed to featuring local artists. In a region with a wealth of talent, organizers introduce new artists to the lineup each year. In 2018, the festival includes more than 30 debuts including singer/songwriter Amanda Ducorbier; Chocolate Milk – the New Orleans funk band that worked with Allen Toussaint, played backup on dozens of notable sessions, and released eight major-label albums; Zydeco-sensation Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble; and Cajun advocate, writer, and acclaimed musician Zachary Richard.
Returning favorites include Cyril Neville, whose Swamp Funk is among the debuts, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Jon Cleary, Little Freddie King, recent Grammy-winners Lost Bayou Ramblers, and hundreds more! The complete music schedule is now available on the festival’s new website, frenchquarterfest.org.
A city famous for its culinary traditions, New Orleans is the perfect backdrop for French Quarter Festival attendees to get a taste of the best of the best. More than 60 vendors feature cuisine from favorite restaurants in the region, including classic New Orleans dishes as well as contemporary and fresh healthy options.
While French Quarter Festival is celebrating 35 years, the City of New Orleans is celebrating 300 years. As an official Tricentennial event, the 2018 festival will offer several ways for attendees to commemorate the anniversary. In Jackson Square – the heart of festival – Hilton will sponsor the Hilton Tricentennial Stage with a four day lineup that includes local legends like John Boutté, Ellis Marsalis, and Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns. French Quarter Festival will also celebrate the Tricentennial with fireworks on the Mississippi River.
Other special events include Let Them Talk, the annual lecture series featuring Louisiana musicians, providing a rare chance to hear artists speak about their life in music as well as take the opportunity to honor those artists who have passed. FQF Film Fest takes place at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré- one of the oldest community theatres in the country – and features films about Louisiana and its musicians. At the Children’s Headquarters, attendees can expect two full days of family-fun in the Chevron STEAM Zone. The engaging, educational activities feature a number of New Orleans organizations such Audubon Nature Institute and the National WWII Museum.
The festival has a new website where visitors can find easy-to-navigate information for programming and special events, including music cubes for performance listings. Learn more at www.frenchquarterfest.org.
*Photos by Zack Smith Photography, Courtesy of French Quarter Festivals, Inc.