French Quarter Fest Guide

By Meghan Henoumont


Louisiana is the state with the most festivals. In a year, there is only one weekend when there isn’t one. This comes as no surprise to any of us from New Orleans. Here we can’t think of an occasion not to listen to live music, dance and hang out with friends, especially outside. Spring is prime festival time. How can’t it be? The weather is stalled between too cold and too hot, it’s the Goldilocks of the seasons.

French Quarter Festival kicks-off the Spring Festival season, going on from April 9-12. This festival features free entry, musically diverse performances, local eats and booze. No wonder it’s a favorite of us locals! So shimmy into some shorts, slather on sunblock, grab your friends, and embrace the season!

Who are the players?

The music line-up is far too large to print ya’ll. So here’s a handy link to see the full schedule: http://fqfi.org/frenchquarter/schedule/stage

However, there are always standout acts we can’t help but get excited about. Here the Dolphin staff picks:

Meghan Henoumont

Sweet Crude

Friday April 10

This seven-member band has become a mainstay on the New Orleans indie rock circuit since their debut in 2013. Sweet Crude embraces its South-East Louisiana roots by combing progressive rock with a traditional twist of songs sung in French. The band is known for its local shows that crackle with energy and guarantee a good time.

Waylon Thibodeaux Band

Friday April 10

Waylon is one heck of a talented young Cajun. The Waylon Thibodeaux Band have been regular performers at the French Quarter Festival since 2010, and for good reason. The self-taught musician and his stellar backing band never fail to get everyone up and moving: Blending Waylon’s amazing fiddling skills with modern lyrics that are just plain fun to sing along to.

Jeff Boudreaux

Ellis Marsalis

Thursday April 9

The patriarch of New Orleans’ first family of jazz, this world-renowned New Orleans icon has been performing America’s music for over 65 years! With a proficiency that is staggering, Mr. Marsalis has released albums from every corner of the jazz genre, from 1991’s “Trio” to 1999’s solo effort “Duke in Blue” to his latest release “Music Redeems,” which is a jazz ensemble that includes his equally accomplished sons – Branford, Wynton, Jason, Delfeayo, and Ellis III.

Doug Kershaw

Thursday April 9

Louisiana legend Doug Kershaw began performing Cajun music in 1948, and has over fifteen albums to his credit. “Louisiana Man” and “Diggy Liggy Lo,” his two signature songs, have crossed over onto the country music charts, and Mr. Kershaw has shared the stage with country and western giants Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Jr. A celebrated virtuoso of the violin and fiddle, Doug Kershaw has also been featured on albums by rock and roll greats such as Arlo Guthrie and Grand Funk Railroad.

Isadora Linheira Carlos

New Orleans Moonshiners

Saturday April 11

Considered one of the hottest young bands in town, the New Orleans Moonshiners play traditional jazz with a modern soul. The New Orleans Moonshiners first album Frenchmen St. Parade was voted Best Traditional Jazz Album of 2011 by Offbeat Magazine.

Samira Palmer

New Breed

Friday April 10

Local nine-piece Brass band New Breed is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping good time. 2015 will be New Breed’s debut year for performing at French Quarter Fest. New Breed has become international known for a good reason. They are Brass pros that can hang with the best of ‘em.

La’Donna Bryer

Tank and the Bangas

Friday April 10

The Soulful sounds of Tank and the Bangas invite listeners on a journey through a vortex of genres, including: jazz funk, spoken word, R&B and hip-hop. All spun by the talented Tarriona (Tank) Ball, an amazing poet, writer, and singer. She recently released 2 albums RandoMe and RandoMe reloaded. Prepare to be educated in the sound of modern mash-ups.

Bamboula 2015

Saturday April 11

Founded by Luther Gray, Bamboula is a drum and dance group that raises cultural awareness through music. They recently released the album “We Got it Goin’ On.” Bamboula combines different styles of music from all around the world. Brush up on your air drumming skills and dance until your legs hurt!

Shannon Daniels

Allen Toussaint

Thursday April 9

Allen Toussaint is a New Orleans legend that has progressed prominently throughout his career. He has worked with some of the greats in the music industry including The Rolling Stones, Patti Labelle, Paul McCartney and plenty more.

Onward Brass Band

Saturday April 11

Onward Brass Band is one of the oldest Brass Bands in the New Orleans area. The group was founded in the late 1800s and has featured many different and amazing musicians throughout the years. Experience a living, jamming piece of New Orleans history.

Jamila Cherif

Tim Laughlin

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A native of New Orleans, Tim Laughlin has been labeled as one of the best clarinetists, and is accompanied by gifted musicians such as Tom McDermott, Connie Jones and Matt Perrine. If you enjoy listening to jazz, you surely don’t want to miss this performance by the legendary Tim. And be on time to get a good spot!

Bag of Donuts

Friday April 10

Known for their costumes and ”audacious” language, Bag of Donuts is a successful rock and roll band with four incredible characters: Jonathan and Bobby Hoerner , Kevin George, and Jerry Christopher. There is an undeniable energy in their shows, and you certainly won’t get bored. These experimental artists are not only beasts on stage, but they will also make you laugh and enjoy yourself. Need to de-stress? Bag of Donuts is your remedy!

Here is a list of items you may want to remember to bring:

  • Toilet paper, port potties can and will run out.
  • Some cash. Unless you want to acquire some seriously steep ATM fees.
  • Sunscreen
  • Bottled water
  • A blanket to chill on
  • Cell phone charger
  • A hoodie just in case or rain/wind
  • Bug spray
  • Pack light! If you plan on dancing and walking around, the less the better.

A few things to think through beforehand:

  • Transportation: don’t drink and drive ever!
  • The weather that day
  • Meet-up spots for you and your crew. You’re cell phone can and will stop sending and receiving texts/calls. Think of how many people are on their phones as well. By the way, put the phone away. A festival is meant to be an experience, turn it off and tune in to life.

What Next?

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