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Festivals in New Orleans (photo courtesy Zack Smith, New Orleans & Company)
At any time of year, visitors to The Big Easy will never want for things to do, from exploring its cultural sites, history, and legacy of arts and architecture to its famed music scene, singular gastronomy and varied social venues. But, the good times really roll in New Orleans during spring and summer months, when school is out, the sun is shining and everyone is in vacation mode.
Crescent City's calendar for the coming warm-weather seasons will be bursting with cultural, music, food and wine festivals, seasonal events and attractions. Trying to figure out which celebrations fit with your plans and preferences? You can find out everything you need to know in selecting the celebrations you want to attend from New Orleans & Company, the dedicated destination marketing organization for the iconic Louisiana port city.
Below, you'll find just a sampling of New Orleans' celebrated spring and summer festivals and events that you may wish to incorporate into your travels.
This one's a biggie, considered one of the world's greatest cultural events. The annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (locally known simply as "Jazz Fest") is a springtime celebration that spans 10 whole days and features, literally, thousands of local and global musicians performing across a dozen event stages.
This massive happening typically attracts around 500,000 avid enthusiasts from all around the world. You can find travel packages that include concert admission, as well as food, crafts, and cultural affairs and exhibits.
This year's lineup includes such big-name artists as Ed Sheeran, Lizzo, Mumford & Sons, Santana, Steve Miller Band, Ludacris, Wu-Tang Klan, Kenny Loggins, NE-YO, Tom Jones, Melissa Ethridge, Lo Lobos, and hundreds of other local bands from around the world.
Dates: April 28-30 and May 4-7, 2023
Location: Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots, A Churchill Downs Co.
The aptly-named French Quarter Festival is a celebration of local music, including every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret and international. The event spans more than 20 stages strewn throughout the city's famous historic French Quarter. Locals have consistently voted this event "favorite festival", "favorite food festival" and "favorite event open to the public" by locals. Plus, admission is free!
Dates: April 13-16, 2023
Location: French Quarter
This three-day music, art and food festival is unique in that can be experienced from locations on the land or the water, and many attendees spend the weekend boating and floating as they soak in the festivities.
Dates: May 19-21, 2023
Location: Various access points
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) is a citywide culinary extravaganza held each year to showcase top chefs, dozens of area restaurants and fine wines from around the globe. It's also a charitable undertaking and, to date, has raised over $1.5 million for local non-profit organizations. This year will mark the event's 31st iteration.
Dates: June 7-11, 2023
Location: Various locations
This outdoor concert series features well-known local musicians in various genres, including jazz, rock, funk, swamp-pop, Latin rhythms and more. Taking place each Wednesday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the recurring event is free and open to the public. There are also plenty of food booths and concession stands throughout the square offering everything from entrees to desserts, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Proceeds from food and beverage sales also benefit the Young Leadership Council's community projects.
Dates: Each Wednesday from March 15-May 17, 2023.
Location: Lafayette Square
Held over the Fourth of July weekend at the Caesars Superdome and areas of downtown New Orleans, the Essence Festival of Culture is a slamming three-day celebration named for the magazine that founded and sponsors it. The event combines incredible music performances with other elements, including presentations by inspirational speakers; expos, seminars and workshops; and provocative conversations surrounding topics like gender, race, culture and art. Essence magazine being geared toward an audience of African-American women, this event is a celebration of the rich culture developed among the African Diaspora, as well as a showcase for top-tier contemporary African-American arts and music.
Dates: June 29-July 3, 2023
Location: Caesars Superdome
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Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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