Lasting four days and featuring 1,400 musicians from New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana, the French Quarter Festival is set to fill the Vieux Carré with brass bands, traditional jazz groups, Cajun and zydeco bands, blues, soul, Mardi Gras Indians chants, singer-songwriters and special events.
The festival drew 560,000 attendees in 2013, its 30th anniversary year. New this year are the Big River Stage, which will feature such local talent as Davell Crawford, Glen David Andrews, the New Birth Brass Band, funk bass master George Porter Jr. and his Runnin’ Pardners and The Wild Tchoupitoulas featuring Jason Neville.
The line-up also features the return of Dr. John. It’s the first French Quarter Festival appearance by the six-time Grammy winner since 1987. Dr. John and his band, the Nite Trippers, play at 4 p.m. Friday at the Abita Beer Stage.
One of Dr. John’s peers, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, performs with his band, the Roadmasters, at 5 p.m. Friday at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Abita Beer Stage.
With so much music on its plate, the French Quarter Festival equals multiple festivals in one festival. The new Popeyes Brass Band Jam Stage at the Old U.S. Mint, for instance, is the festival’s brass-band headquarters. The Hot 8 Brass Band, Original Pinettes Brass Band, Leroy Jones’ Original Hurricane Brass Band, Treme Brass Band, Lagniappe Brass Band, Corey Henry’s Treme Funktet and many more will play.
Chevron Cajun-Zydeco Showcase
Launched last year, the Chevron Cajun-Zydeco Showcase at the Bienville Triangle (North Peters and St. Louis streets) returns with days of Cajun and zydeco music groups, including the Grammy-winning Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet, Cajun-rock band the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Brandon Moreau & his Cajungrass and singer-fiddler Amada Shaw, Tipitina’s Sunday fais do-do regulars Bruce Daigrepoint Cajun Band, the Grammy-winning Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, young Cajun band Feufollet and Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots.
The French Quarter Festival and grassroots filmmaking organization Timecode:NOLA are presenting free films at Le Petit Théâtre. The popularity of screenings last year made the venue necessary. This year’s films include “Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker,” “Ruthie the Duck Girl,” “Piano Players Rarely Play Together” and “The Whole Gritty City.”
Let Them Talk
“Let Them Talk: Conversations about Louisiana Music” returns to the festival with interviews and performances in the Old U.S. Mint’s third floor auditorium Saturday and Sunday. Interviews this year include Shannon Powell and Susan Cowsill. The series is free.
For information about the festival’s special events see