French Quarter Festival Celebrates 40 Years

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French Quarter Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary in New Orleans from April 13 to 16. The free event, put on by the non-profit French Quarter Festivals, Inc., hosts music performances, culinary experiences, nighttime programming and more.

“As a free event, French Quarter Festival is truly for everyone and we cannot wait to celebrate and share this milestone with our community,” Emily Madero, President and CEO of French Quarter Festivals, Inc., said in a statement. “We are proud to be able to produce an event that truly represents the depth and diversity of New Orleans’ creative spirit with more than 30 varieties of music on 20 stages and over 60 culinary experiences. Our team is excited to bring fan favorites back like Fireworks on the river, the FQF After Dark Series, and launch special features like the 40th Anniversary Hub, and so many new and upcoming artists and restaurants.”

The largest showcase of Louisiana music, food and culture honors New Orleans, and the music schedule for the event is now available. More than 270 performances will take place across 20 stages, including the Riverfront Abita Beer Stage with headliners The Soul Rebels ft. Big Freedia, Ani DiFranco, Samantha Fish, and Tank and the Bangas. Irma Thomas will close out the stage on April 13, with a special 40th-anniversary fireworks show immediately following.

Other stages include the GE Stage in Jackson Square, the Jack Daniel’s Stage in Canal Plaza, the Tropical Isle Hand Grenade Stage, the Credit Human Songwriter Stage in The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, the Louisiana Fry Stage, the WWL-TV Esplanade in the Shade Stage, the Pan-American Life Insurance Group Stage, Ernie’s Schoolhouse Stage at the Homer A. Plessy Community School, the French Market Traditional Jazz Stage, the French Market Dutch Alley Stage, the Café Beignet Stage at Musical Legends Park, the Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans, the Omni Royal New Orleans Stage, Hancock Whitney Stage and Zapp’s Potato Chip Stage.

In addition to the musical acts, the festival’s culinary lineup, sponsored by Broussard’s Restaurant & Courtyard, returns. Attendees can dine on Vietnamese cuisines from 9 Roses. Bao Mi will sell Bulgogi Fries. Acropolis on Freret will have their Dolmadas (grape leaves rolled with rice and pine nuts), Heard Dat Kitchen will sell their Skeesh Sprimp, Baroness will have their shrimp dip, Boulevard American Bistro will sell crispy oysters, Monday will sell whole deep-fried snapper and seafood gumbo, with other restaurants including Paco’s Taco, Louisiana Fish Fry with Nola Crawfish King, Creale Country Cafe, Café, Dauphine, Dickie Brennan’s & Co., Tujague’s Restuarant, Mrs. Wheat’s Pies and Addis Nola all selling their cuisine throughout the festival.

The festival kicks off on April 13 at 10 a.m. with the French Quarter Festival kickoff parade, departing from the 200 block of Bourbon Street and winding its way up to Jackson Square for the annual opening day ceremony at the GE Stage.