French Quarter Festival – 40th Anniversary

Dionne Character | Entertainment Columnist
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, the 2023 French Quarter Festival returns this Spring, April 13-16th. Each year, thousands of attendees from near and far make their way to New Orleans’ Historic French Quarter for the Annual French Quarter Festival. This massive celebration highlights the food, music, art, and culture of this beloved neighborhood. From the Riverfront all the way to Jackson Square guests can indulge in countless live music performances, creole cuisine, and special events and activities.

This festival has charmed New Orleanians since it first began in 1984, designed to remind locals how fabulous and fun the French Quarter can be. Stages are set up at every corner, cuisine from the city’s finest restaurants fills booths in Jackson Square and beyond as visitors and locals come to let the good times roll.

Featuring local acts on twenty stages and as always, free admission, this year’s headliners include the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, The Soul Rebels Ft., Big Freedia, Samantha Fish, Ani DiFranco, Erica Falls, and the Rebirth Brass Band.

“Anytime you get to play in front of visitors and with local musicians it’s fun,” said Mike Bass, who has traveled the world as a bassist.
“I love the energy of the festival,” says Kelly Love Jones, Singer/Songwriter.

“What a great way to kickoff summer music events,” says Jamal Batiste, Drummer.

The French Quarter Festival, which takes over the entirety of the historic neighborhood, is one of the largest showcases of Louisiana music with over 270 performances with a kickoff opening parade and ceremony beginning at 10:00 a.m., with the Black Magic Drumline, New Wave Brass Band, Mohogany Brass Band, New Birth Brass Band and TBC Brass Band, who will be marching from Iberville Street down to Jackson Square.

The official French Quarter Fest schedule will provide you with all the information you need to plan your day, including performance times, stage locations, bathroom locations and a map of food vendors.

French Quarter Festival Music Lineup
This year’s music lineup includes:
• Irma Thomas
• Ani DiFranco
• Louisiana’s LeRoux
• Samantha Fish
• The Soul Rebels Ft. Big Freedia
• Erica Falls
• Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and The Golden Eagles
• Rebirth Brass Band
• Flow Tribe
• Tank and the Bangas
• Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen
• Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters
…and many, many more!

French Quarter Festival Culinary Lineup
This year’s culinary lineup includes:
• Broussard’s
• Galatoire’s
• Landry’s Seafood
• Tujague’s
• Patton’s
• Court of Two Sisters
• Miss Linda the Yakamein Lady
• Parish Seafood
• Cochon King BBQ
• Addis NOLA
• Ma Mommas House
…and, of course, many more.

Where are the stages located?
There are twenty stages spread throughout the French Quarter, each with a variety of local musicians. The 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
• New Orleans Jazz Museum
• And more

What is the best way to get around during French Quarter Fest?
There is lots of parking around the French Quarter and surrounding areas that will put you within walking distance of the festival. Depending on where you are staying, you can also take in the sights by taking a streetcar or renting a Blue Bike.

What should I bring?
Collapsible chairs, blankets, and ground tarps are a great way to take a break and enjoy the music – and your food. Sunscreen and bug spray are also must-haves. Outside food and beverages are not allowed so be sure to bring cash to get your fill of the great food and drinks available (and to help fill the musician’s tip jars).

For more information on the French Quarter Festival visit: www.frenchquarterfest.org.
Dionne Character can be reached at Character Hollywood

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