What Is French Quarter Fest?

For travelers visiting New Orleans for the first time, strolling around the annual French Quarter Fest is a great way to get a feel for the city’s personality. Located in NOLA’s most iconic neighborhood, French Quarter Fest features live performances from hundreds of local musicians, as well as dozens of food stalls from some of the Big Easy’s most celebrated Cajun and Creole restaurants. Originally created to encourage locals to return to the area following extensive repairs to the infrastructure, French Quarter Fest has graced its namesake neighborhood every spring since 1984. This year it runs from April 11th through the 14th.


A person playing a trumpet
Whenever people talk about New Orleans music, jazz seems to get all the attention, but in reality, many different styles influence the local scene. While visitors will have the chance to hear dozens of jazz bands at French Quarter Fest, the festival also showcases Latin, Cajun, Zydeco, funk, folk, and gospel artists from around the city. Headliners include Irma Thomas, Galactic, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Little Freddie King, Amanda Shaw, and Flow Tribe.


French Quarter Fest is a haven for the indecisive foodie. With several local restaurants offering small portions of their dishes at booths, it’s possible to taste many of New Orleans’ signature dishes in a single weekend, including catfish po-boys, soft shell crab, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, beignets, and white chocolate bread pudding. Nicknamed the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch,” French Quarter Fest’s culinary offerings stretch across Jackson Square, the Vieux Carre parks, and the riverfront.


In true New Orleans fashion, the festival kicks off with a parade beginning on the 100 block of Bourbon Street at 10 AM on the 11th. Attendees also have the opportunity to learn different styles of dance at both the French Market Traditional Jazz Stage and the Chevron Cajun-Zydeco Showcase, from 1920s Charleston to swing dance to the Cajun Jitterbug. All lessons are free and taught by professionals.

French Quarter Fest is just one way to get to know New Orleans. Joieful’s walking, biking, and riverboat tours connect travelers to different dimensions of the city’s personality, from its history to its architecture, to the natural beauty and intrigue of the nearby swamps. Give us a call at 504-207-4555 or chat with us online to purchase your experience today.