What is French Quarter Festival?
The award-winning French Quarter Festival is a four-day local music showcase scattered throughout the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana— the largest free music event in the United States. French Quarter Festival features 1,700 musicians playing 400 hours of free, local music from a variety of musical genres on 23 stages throughout the French Quarter. The community festival also features the ‘World’s Largest Jazz Brunch,’ festival food booths operated by some of New Orleans finest restaurants, open throughout the festival weekend.
When is the festival?
The festival usually falls on the second full weekend in April. Sometimes, Easter will fall on that weekend, so please check with us before making your travel arrangements if you are unsure of the exact dates.
2018: April 12-15
2019: April 11-14
2020: April 2-5
How much does it cost to attend French Quarter Festival?
The four-day weekend festival is FREE and there is no cost to attend any of the performances. The only costs are for food, beverage, and merchandise purchases on festival grounds, and certain off-site special events. In order to keep this festival free and open to the public, outside food and beverages are prohibited.
Where is French Quarter Festival held?
French Quarter Festival is held throughout the historic French Quarter (Vieux Carre) neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana. Music stages are located at Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Bourbon Street, Royal Street, Bienville Triangle, Preservation Hall, the French Market, St. Mary’s at the Ursuline Convent, and Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint. ‘World’s Largest Jazz Brunch’ booths can be found in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, the Jax Brewery parking lot, and Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint. Special events take place at various locations throughout the French Quarter; see listings for details. Also see our map.
Where do I park?
Getting to Festival is easy, but parking is challenging. Arrive early to park in these lots located in the heart of the festival: French Market, 500 Decatur Street, 300 North Peters Street, 211 Conti Street, Canal Place and various locations within walking distance.
Attendees are also encouraged to take advantage of public transportation, including the streetcar and RTA buses. The Loyola Streetcar line conveniently has stops near several parking lots in the CBD and drops off steps away from the French Quarter. Premium Parking has thousands of spaces along O’Keefe Avenue in the Central Business District, just a block away from RTA streetcars and buses. The following are easy access routes to downtown and the areas surrounding the French Quarter: #10 Tchoupitoulas, #11 Magazine, #55 Elysian Fields, #57 Franklin, #91 Jackson/Esplanade, #2 Riverfront, #12 St. Charles, #47 Canal/Cemeteries, #48 Canal/City Park Streetcar, #49 Loyola/UPT. In addition, the new Rampart Streetcar line runs from Elysian Fields Ave to Canal Street. For more details and fare information please go to www.norta.com. Fares can be purchased from the conductor or in advance at one of the RTA’s ticket vending machines -located at major transfer and boarding points throughout the city. Vending machines accept cash and coins only, and provide the option for $3 unlimited ride “Jazzy Passes”.
- Bike Easy Valet Bike Parking is available Friday-Sunday. The service is located at the Canal Street entrance to Woldenberg Riverfront Park. “Do it yourself” bike parking is also available at several locations: along the Mississippi floodwall at the Conti Street and Bienville Street entrances, and at Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Avenue, on the neutral ground.
- New Orleans has many cab companies servicing the area. View all the options here.
Does the Festival conduct bag checks?
To provide a safer environment for the public, festival organizers implement bag checks. Attendees should anticipate bag checks at all major sites and stages. FQFI will enforce a ban on weapons, drugs, pets, glass bottles and outside beverages. Festival organizers strongly encourage festival-goers to not bring these items in order to access all areas of the event.
What happens if festival-goers show up at the gate with a prohibited item?
The attendee will have the option of discarding or surrendering the prohibited item or the attendee can secure the item at a location of their choosing (car, hotel room, etc.). Surrendered items cannot be returned, items will be forfeited.
What about prescription medications, baby formula, or milk?
These substances are exempt from the rules above, pending inspection.
Which festival sites/stages are included in the measures?
The bag check policy affects Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Plaza, including: GE Big River Stage, Abita Stage, Tropical Isle Hand Grenade Stage, and the Chevron Children’s Headquarters.
Can I bring my cooler or ice chest?
French Quarter Festival does not allow coolers, ice chests, or large containers in major festival areas. The free event receives no public funding, and its success and continuation relies solely upon beverage/merchandise revenues. Help keep the festival free by purchasing your beverages at the festival!
What else is prohibited?
- Glass bottles and containers
- Professional radios or walkie-talkies
- Bicycles inside of festival grounds (bike parking and bike valet opportunities are found outside of the entrances to Woldenberg Riverfront Park and The Old U.S. Mint)
- Soliciting or vending unless previously authorized
- Tents or sun shades
Who produces French Quarter Festival?
The festival is produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., a 501c(3) non-profit corporation. FQFI has a full-time staff of nine and a volunteer corps of nearly 2,000. The organization also produces other community events, including Satchmo SummerFest in August and Christmas New Orleans Style in December.
Are festival grounds wheelchair accessible?
The French Quarter Festival is produced in a public, historic neighborhood. All music stages are wheelchair accessible via the many public sidewalks found throughout the French Quarter.
*What if I have a medical emergency at festival?”
There are three first aid stations located throughout the festival footprint: The Old U.S. Mint, Jackson Square, and near the riverfront Abita Stage.
How do I volunteer for French Quarter Festival?
Please call (504) 522-5730 or click here to learn about our many exciting team and individual volunteer positions. The festival is largely run by volunteers, whose tireless dedication has helped French Quarter Festival to grow.
How can I get a job or internship with French Quarter Festivals, Inc.?
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. is currently accepting applications for temporary, contract workers available before and during and event. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in an unpaid internship (either for credit or not-for-credit) should send a resume and cover letter to FQFI, 400 N. Peters Street, Suite 205, New Orleans, LA 70130 or email email@example.com. Interns must be dependable and want to work in a fast-paced special events environment.
How does my group perform at French Quarter Festival?
The festival is a showcase for New Orleans musicians. You must be a local New Orleans musician/band to perform at the festival. The only exceptions made are for Cajun and Zydeco performers from throughout the Louisiana region and for a limited number of international (overseas) groups who perform their interpretation of traditional jazz on the ‘International Stage’. We are not currently accepting performance requests for national artists from outside Louisiana, performance troupes, or dance teams.
Music performances at the free community festival are made possible in part by the French Quarter Musician Sponsors, American Federation of Musicians, New Orleans Local 174-496/Music Performance Trust Fund and by entertainment sponsors, ranging from music venues and restaurants to record companies and private individuals. Please call (504) 522-5730 or email us to learn more about entertainment sponsorship or the music application process. If you feel your band qualifies as a potential performer, please send a press kit (CD, press release, photo) to FQFI, 400 N. Peters Street, Suite 205, New Orleans, LA 70130. Although press kits are accepted throughout the year, we recommend sending them from August through November.
Does French Quarter Festival host an ‘Artists Village’ or crafts area?
Part of the mission of French Quarter Festivals, Inc. is to keep the French Quarter neighborhood healthy. We encourage festival goers to shop the neighborhood and support local business! There is not a designated Artists Village at French Quarter Festival, but the neighborhood is full of art galleries, shops with locally made crafts, jewelry, clothing, and other regional products.
How do I become a food vendor?
In order to qualify as a food vendor, you must own and operate a restaurant in the French Quarter, New Orleans, or the surrounding areas. Caterers, commercial vendors, or any company from outside of Louisiana are not considered. Restaurants that have more than 3 locations, or are considered a chain or franchise may not be considered. The applications are usually sent in December and each restaurant must go through an application and approval process as set forth by the Jazz Brunch Committee. To be considered for an invitation to vend at French Quarter Festival and Satchmo SummerFest, applicant must first add their restaurant to our wait list for consideration. If you feel your restaurant meets these basic requirements, you may contact us at (504) 522-5730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive information.
Does the festival have an official tour operator?
FQFI does not make recommendations or referrals on tours operators. There are several local companies that offer FQF packages. You may call the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention Visitors Bureau at (504) 566-5011 for general tourism information or visit www.neworleanscvb.com for a list of tour operators.
Can I bring my pets to the festival?
Sorry – pets are discouraged and prohibited in most festival areas. The only exception to this rule are working service animals such as seeing-eye dogs.
Is there a Lost and Found?
Yes, all found items should be turned in to the nearest information booth, of which there are four throughout the festival footprint (riverfront by Abita main stage, JAX Brewery Parking Lot, Jackson Square, and the Old U.S. Mint). If you’ve lost an item, visit your nearest information booth to see if it has been turned in, and if not, report it lost with the volunteer working there so we may contact you if and when it gets turned in.