Break out the party hats. Clink your glasses in celebration. 2014 marks the 31st anniversary of the French Quarter Festival.
Back in 1984, this music event began as a small, neighborhood festival that organizers hoped would lure local residents back to the French Quarter. Today, it has grown to host more than half a million locals and out-of-town visitors.
There's much to love about this longtime festival favorite, like its 21 stages and 400-plus hours of live entertainment. But a large part of its popularity is due to its price tag—it's absolutely free to hear all of that outstanding music! It is known as the South's largest free music festival. To keep the four-day event free to the public, French Quarter Festival relies on merchandise and poster sales, sponsorships, and food and beverage sales.
Here's what you need to know about the 2014 French Quarter Festival:
Save the Date
April 10-13, 2014
Where Is It?
The festival takes place throughout the French Quarter, with stages and events between Bourbon Street and the Mississippi Riverfront, spanning from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue.
How To Get There
Take a streetcar or bus. Or ride the free Capital One Bank Second Line Shuttle, which departs from the Central Business District.
You won't believe the variety of music you'll hear at this festival, from traditional jazz to New Orleans funk and classical to zydeco. Here are a just a few of the notable artists performing this year: Raw Oyster Cult, Bonerama, Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, and BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. Get the full line up here.
What To Eat
Though the event is free, you definitely want to bring your wallet to enjoy the amazing festival foods. Thursday through Sunday, fill up as the festival hosts the "World's Largest Jazz Brunch." More than 60 food and beverage vendors will be located in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint. Feast on cochon de lait po'boys, boiled crawfish and snoballs. Sip on Abita Beer, Pat O'Brien's Hurricanes and more. This is a great opportunity to sample a variety of New Orleans' best dine-in restaurants, like Galatoire's, Muriel's and Tujague's. More than 60 food vendors will be on hand.
2014 welcomes Dr. John as the official headliner of the event. Dr. John hasn't performed at the festival since 1987 and he will be playing on Friday, April 11 on the riverfront Abita Stage at 4:30 p.m. He will be backed by this new Nite Trippers band along with special guests Rebirth Brass Brand and students from the Roots of Music after-school program.
Get Your Groove On
Check out the free dance lessons at the French Market Traditional Jazz Stage, the Cajun Zydeco Stage and the Children's Stage.
Best Way To Stay In-the-Know
Get the free French Quarter Festival app, available for iPhone and Android. Receive up-to-the-minute announcements, music schedules, menus, shuttle information and more.
Where To Stay
Search our listings for a variety of affordable New Orleans accommodations.