By: Meghan Henoumont
Here in New Orleans, there’s always something to celebrate. We have dozens of festivals inspired by our unique food, music, and multicultural heritage all year long. But something truly magical happens from Spring through summer, the city goes into festival overload, hosting nearly 130 festivals. That’s one every three days. Clearly, New Orleans is the festival capital of the world. Here are some of the Dolphin staff’s favorites.
Wednesday at the Square, March 15-May 17, This free outdoor concert goes on for 12 weeks, every Wednesday, in Lafayette Square. The music is as diverse as the city including jazz, rock, funk, swamp pop, Latin rhythms and more. There is food for sale from some of the tastiest food trucks in the city and of course alcoholic beverages. Each concert begins at 5 p.m. and usually lasting until 7:00-7:30 p.m. or more information about the Wednesday at the Park Concert Series visit their website at www.wednesdayatthesquare.com.
Hogs for the cause, March 31-April 1, the Charity festival moves from New Orleans City Park to the grounds at the UNO Lakefront Arena this year. Barbecue from more than 90 teams is for sale at this drool worthy barbecue contest. There is music on three stages from Shovels & Rope, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin Pardners, The London Souls and more. The purpose of Hogs for the Cause is to provide aid and relief of those variable expenses and economic burdens which families face while their child is being treated for pediatric brain cancer. Currently, Hogs for The Cause operates as the premier funding source for pediatric brain cancer outreach services in the United States and has given grants to over 400 families in need. Hogs for the Cause 2017 is set for March 31 — April 1, 2017. For more information about Hogs for the Cause visit www.hogsforthecause.org.
Freret Street Festival, April 1, this free festival has over 200 vendors offer art and collectibles, while live music plays on three stages. The festival, which extends for six blocks between Napoleon Avenue and Soniat Street, features live music from 20 bands, food, artwork and handicrafts and fun activities for all ages — especially the kids. In recent years, the events and activities have included a Kids’ Activity Area with inflatables, a Petting Zoo, Insta-Gator, arts & crafts, clowns, parades and second lines and African stilt walkers. For more information visit the following website: www.freretstreetfestival.com.
French Quarter Festival, April 6-9, this local favorite fest is in its 34th year and has bloomed to have more than 1,700 musicians! The stages are set up throughout the French Quarter and feature food and drinks from over 60 New Orleans restaurants. Aaron Neville will play for the first time at FQ fest this year and is sure to draw an enormous crowd. Free admission. For more information, music schedule and a map of this year’s festival visit www.fqfi.org.
Crescent City Classic, April 15 8:00 A.M., Registration $45, Runners from around participate in this 10K making it one of New Orleans largest races. Now in its Organized by the Crescent City Fitness Foundation, the race is open to anyone who wishes to participate. There is a post-race celebration called the Michelob Ultra RaceFest at the City Park Festival grounds, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. features food, drinks, and music. There is a $10 cover for the after party, children under 12 enter for free and free for runners.
New Orleans Poetry Festival, April 20-23, New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St. Claude Ave. The festival includes national, international and local poets. There will also be readings, workshops, panel discussions and author events. Since April 22 is Earth day the festival will feature ecological themes such as The Poetics of Climate Change: Poetry in the Anthropocene, and Earth, Water, and Sky: A Bilingual Anthology of Ecological Poetry, book launch and reading Visit www.nolapoetry.com to purchase tickets and for more information.
New Orleans French Film Festival, April 21-27, this festival in its 19th year is wildly popular with locals and is held at the Prytania Theater. It offers an array of contemporary and classic French films. In all 17 films are set to screen over the course of the eight-day festival. Some of the highlights include: the Cannes hit drama “Dheepan”, a new adaptation of “Diary of a Chambermaid” and legends of French cinema such as Jean-Luc Godard, Gerard Depardieu, and Isabelle Huppert. Times and prices vary.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 28-30 -May 4-7, This music festival is possibly the best known New Orleans festival. People from all over the world converge to hear rock, jazz, hip-hop, zydeco, rap, gospel, and pop. The food at the festival is the stuff of legends. Ask any local and they will tell you to be sure and try the crawfish bread and mango ice. There are also art vendors, crafts and children’s activities. The headliners this year include Stevie Wonder, Tom petty and the Heartbreakers, Usher, Alabama Shakes, Wilco and Patti LaBelle. 11 a.m. — 7 P.M. daily, tickets $70 in advance and $80 at the door.
Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo, May 19-21, This three-day festival is presented by the Mothership Foundation on Bayou Saint John. This is the biggest festival in Mid-City every year where you are guaranteed to bump into just about everyone. Food vendor’s line-up around the bayou and music plays from multiple stages, art, jewelry, and crafts from local vendors are for sale. The line-up this year includes Cupid, Jon Cleary, and others. Free admission. Visit www.thebayouboogaloo.com for more information and the full music line-up.
Snake Oil Festival, June 15-17, This is one naughty and fun festival, showcasing national burlesque, vaudeville, sideshow and circus acts. Time and admission TBA.