Your Guide to

French Quarter Festival

French Quarter Festival

The biggest and best free festival Nola has to offer.

The French Quarter Festival is the largest free musical event in the New Orleans calendar, and according to organizers, the largest free music festival in the USA. For many, it has become a less crowded, less expensive alternative to the Jazz & Heritage Festival.

With that said, it’s not really fair to describe French Quarter Fest in relation to the Jazz Fest. French Quarter Fest stands strongly on its own merits, rocking the city with a fantastic line up of musicians and unbeatable setting.

That setting is, as you may have guessed from the name, the French Quarter itself. Unlike so many music festivals around the world, French Quarter Fest eschews a huge grassy space for city streets. And in this case, said streets run through one of the world’s architectural preservation treasures. The festival goes off during the second weekend of April, which tends to come with gorgeous weather. The music line-up draws from a decidedly local list of acts; if you really want to experience the music of modern New Orleans and Louisiana in one free weekend, this is simply the event you cannot miss.


French Quarter Fest: Facts & Tips

French Quarter Fest is rapidly approaching; this year's festival will be happening from Thursday, April 12 to Sunday April 15. WWOZ will be there broadcasting live for those of you who can't make it in person.

With less than three weeks to go, check out these lesser-known facts about one of New Orleans' biggest and fastest growing festivals:

  • Over 1,700 local artists and over two dozen new acts will perform on 23 stages this year.
  • There was record-breaking attendance at last year's festival: nearly 733,000 people.
  • The first French Quarter Fest was held in 1984 and included flashdancing and breakdancing competitions along with great live music and food. Attendance was in the "hundreds."
  • On Saturday, April 14, French Quarter Festival will celebrate the Tricentennial with fireworks on the Mississippi River at approx. 9PM.
  • A shuttle runs from the Central Business District to help with parking, but you're likely to be better off on a bike-- Bike Easy hosts valet bike parking at the Canal Street entrance to Woldenberg Park. Bike parking is also available at the Old US Mint, the 600 block of Decatur, Ursulines between Decatur and North Peters, and at the Bienville and Conti Street festival entrances.
  • There is a Second Line kickoff on Thursday, April 12 at 10am rolling from the 100 block of Bourbon Street to Jackson Square.
  • Free dance lessons are available on Friday and Saturday at The French Market Traditional Jazz Stage and the Chevron Cajun-Zydeco Showcase.
  • There is an official French Quarter Fest iPhone app.
  • There are bag checks at the festival's main entry points.

Our Local Publisher Partners

The Arts Council of New Orleans

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

Southern Food

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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