New Orleans is a bustling, cosmopolitan city home to a steady calendar of music festivals and is a performance stop on the A-list concert circuit. The city hosts acts like Michael Bubble, Beyonce, Darius Rucker and Pearl Jam year-round.
Musical festivals such asthe Voodoo Music Experience, Jazz Fest and the Essence Music Festival are just a few of our signature events that draw dozens of top acts to the city for days and nights filled with your favorite performers. Free festivals such as French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Summerfest and the local favorite Wednesdays in the Square showcase our amazing local talent and the national and international acts that can't resist sittingin on the fun.
This is the largest free music festival in the South with a special focus on NewOrleans' music and food. The festival offers 20 performance stages and more than 90 food and beverage booths set among one of the countries most historic neighborhoods. Kids' activities, home tours and other festivities fill the weekend with fun. fqfi.org
Formore than 40 years, music lovers from around the globe have made the pilgrimage to the historic Fair Grounds Race Course for a lineup that reads more like a who's who of music legends than an event flyer. The music is phenomenal, the food inspirational. An event worthy of the birthplace of jazz. nojazzfest.com
"Partywith a purpose" at this star-studded celebration of African American music and culture in the Superdome. Jazz up your July with performances by the world's biggest hip-hop, R&B and soul artists (last year MaryJ. Blige headlined). essencemusicfestival.com
Onlythe coolest take to the stage at this Halloween-themed festival in CityPark, known for its blending of high-profile national artists such as Marilyn Manson, 50 Cent, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Duran Duran, Nine Inch Nails, R.E.M. and 311, with local Louisiana musicians including The Original Meters, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, and Dr. John. thevoodooexperience.com
Louis"Satchmo" Armstrong is one of New Orleans' favorite native sons (and there are many to pick from). Each year, this weekend-long festival celebrates his life, legacy and music. The festivities include a seminarseries, jazz exhibits, a jazz mass and second-line parade, fantastic food and a host of star-studded performers. frenchquarterfestivals.org
Thisenvironmentally conscious festival brings an element of green to the red-hot live music scene. The stage is 100-percent solar powered, all supplies are biodegradable and recycling is mandatory. Hip alternative bands like Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Ghostland Observatory and the Generationals have rocked out for the sustainability cause. project3090.com
Celebratethe wonderful legacy of African American food, music and culture that we've all come to know as soul food and soul music. More than 21,000 people flock to the Audubon Zoo to see musicians such as Irvin Mayfield,Yolanda Adams and the Hot 8. Arrive hungry because there's tons of foodwith southern flair, including fried Louisiana alligator kabobs, pork chop po-poys and sweet potato pies. auduboninstitute.org/soul-fest
Fromjazz and blues to Cajun and country, three days of free live music bring more than 20,000 people to the banks of the Bayou Saint John each year. Catch performances from local Louisiana artists like Anders Osbourne, Soul Rebels Brass Band and SwampGrease. Other festival events include the Rubber Duck Derby, dance lessons and the Bicycle Pub Crawl. thebayouboogaloo.com
Lifedoesn't get better in the Big Easy than the three-in-one festival knownas Vieux to Do, which wraps the Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival, the Louisiana Seafood Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival into one whirlwind weekend.
Twothings synonymous with the South: blues and barbecue. Find the best combination of both at the free festival presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Inc. in Lafayette Square Park. Get a spot next to the stage to see Taj Mahal, Honey Island Swamp Band and Ruthie Foster. jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest
Grownfrom a grassroots effort to honor the great jazz musicians that came from the West Bank in Algiers, this humble concert has grown into an annual celebratory festival. In addition to jazz and indigenous music, find art for sale, activities and local cuisine. oldalgiersriverfest.com
Spreada blanket out on the grass of Lafayette Square and rub elbows with the after-work crowd while seeing live performances and watching the sun set. For 12 weeks in the spring and early summer "WATS" and from September to November Harvest the Music offer free outdoor concerts from5-7:30pm, rain or shine. wednesdayatthesquare.com/harvestthemusic.org
Whennational headliner acts roll through town, they're likely to stop the tour bus at one of New Orleans' major music venues, including New Orleans Arena, House of Blues, UNO Lakefront Arena, Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Normally home to the Hornets NBA basketball and VooDoo arena football teams, New Orleans Areas is where you'll see superstars like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Lil' Wayne. Checkout the famous Sunday Gospel Brunch weekly at House of Blues, as well as more intimate performances. UNO Lakefront Arena offers shows ranging from Sting to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Broadway musicals, operas and symphonies can be found at Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. (neworleansarena.com, houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/neworleans, arena.uno.edu, mahaliajacksontheater.com)
In1796, the first opera performed in North American was right here in NewOrleans. Today, The New Orleans Opera Association carries on that tradition with four operas produced every season at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre. Shows range from Mozart classics to more modern productions by the Gershwins. Ticket prices start as low as $20 for a single show, and there are discounts for groups and students. The NOOA also produces Opera on Tap several times a month, which are intimate 90-minute concerts at local watering holes featuring young local and emerging performers. neworleansopera.org
TheLouisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is the only musician-owned orchestra in North America, which is a unique model that allows the group of 69 musicians to adapt and change their repertoire every year. Led by musical director Carlos Miguel Prieto, the orchestra performs a full 36-week concert season. Seasonal shows like the Nutcracker, casual showslike The Music of Michael Jackson and classics like Beethoven Symphony No. 5 comprise the yearly schedule that is intended to attract a wide audience. lpomusic.com
Everyoneknows New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, but the sounds of the citygo far beyond our most famous genre. From posh clubs to the streets musical styles range from trad jazz to rock and from brass to Zydeco.
See below for insight into just a few of the many genres of live music just waiting to be danced to in New Orleans.
Instruments: trumpet, coronet, clarinet, piano, banjo, tuba, drums
Commonlyreferred to as "trad" jazz the term Dixieland may also be used to describe this earliest form of jazz. Artists associated with traditionaljazz include Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. Trad is commonly characterized by instrument solos after which the audience is obliged to applaud in appreciation. And with so much great live jazz available New Orleans has become a mecca for swing dancers. The NOLA Jitterbugs (nolajitterbugs.org) offer free lessons several times a week.
Trad acts to catch: Palmetto Bug Stompers, Jazz Vipers and Tim Lauglin
Instruments: fiddle, accordion, triangle, accordion, wash board, piano
TheCajun people are not indigenous to New Orleans but this lively culture made its way into the New Orleans lexicon when the city hosted the World's Fair in 1984. Since then, Cajun & Zydeco performers have delighted crowds on stages across the city. Cajun music lends itself to waltzes and two steps and Zydeco, associated with black Creole society of Southwest Louisiana, can exhibit more of a bluesy or rock and roll feel. Both genres are incredibly infectious and will have you on the dance floor in no time.
Cajun & Zydeco acts to catch:
Instruments: trumpet, trombone, drums, saxophone, sousaphone
Catchinga brass band show should be a top priority during your visit to New Orleans. New Orleans brass is a mix of a classic, European-style military band music infused with funky, African influence. Brass bands can easily slip from traditional jazz standards to Michael Jackson in notime flat. Brass is New Orleans' party music. Brass is for dancing and you're likely to see locals break into a distinctive style of dance commonly referred to as "buck jumpin'" which is characterized by bouncy,intricate footwork that is somewhat like break dancing. It's harder than it looks but lots of fun to practice!
Brass acts to catch: Rebirth Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Soul Rebels Brass Band