French Quarter Festival
French Quarter Festival Board President Jeremy Thibodeaux discusses this year’s fest.
The 2017 French Quarter Festival, presented by Chevron, is April 6-9. It is the world’s largest showcase of Louisiana music, with over 1,700 local musicians on 23 stages. Over 60 restaurants participate, including Antoine’s, Galatoire’s, Haydel’s Bakery and more. It is free and open to the public.
What’s new? Over 20 artists make their festival debut in 2017, including the legendary Aaron Neville, who will perform on the Abita Beer Stage.
The Jack Daniel’s stage expands and moves to JAX Brewery. The stage will have entertainment all four days of festival. French Quarter Festival 2017 will also bring a stage to KIPP McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts.
What should newcomers see first? Plan ahead! Visit FQFI.org or download the app to see the full list of shows, special events and menus. Jackson Square is the heart of the neighborhood, an iconic place to begin … with first-class artists like Ellis Marsalis and Kermit Ruffins.
How do you deal with the ever-increasing crowds? Stage and food vendor locations are often adjusted, like this year’s relocation of the Jack Daniel’s stage to JAX Brewery, a site we’re significantly expanding. Street closures are common in order to protect pedestrians, and partnerships with groups like Bike Easy help ease congestion for our locals.
What’s the most overlooked part of the fest? The music schedule is so incredible that it would be easy to overlook the amazing special events. Musicians share personal stories at “Let Them Talk, Conversations on Louisiana Music” at the U.S. Mint. Award-winning films about Louisiana are screened at the Whitney Bank Film Festival inside beautiful, historic Le Petit Théâtre; many include a Q&A with the filmmaker. These, and smaller events, like Opera at Dusk and dance lessons with NOLA Jitterbugs, truly enhance the experience.