New Orleans is the city of festivals. There are hundreds throughout the year, some better for solo travelers than others. Three of the best annual music festivals are French Quarter Festival, Wednesday at the Square, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Find out the dates and details of each fun festival below.
French Quarter Festival
Now over 30 years old, the French Quarter Festival is an annual festival celebrating local food and great live music in the French Quarter and along the New Orleans riverfront. The 33rd festival, which is the largest showcase of Louisiana music in the world, will run from April 7-10, 2016. Stages are set up in various locations throughout the area, both big and small, making it great for solo travelers to stroll through the city as it fills up with music.
Notable performers this year include Cowboy Mouth, Buckwheat Zydeco, Chubby Carrier, Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas, Meschiya Lake, and so many more. The full lineup is now available here.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival–or Jazz Fest for short–is not just for jazz lovers, and it’s not even just one weekend. The “10-day cultural feast” is scheduled for the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (1751 Gentilly Blvd). The first Jazz Fest was held in 1970, created to celebrate the culture of Louisiana with the combined fervor of a gospel hymn and the joy of a jazz parade.
Now, the festival attracts over 435,000 attendees and boasts tons of music genres, cuisines, and crafts that encompass the wide array of styles of the city and its people. Beyond the 12 music stages, New Orleanians and Jazz Festers alike know that a lot happens outside of the festival as well, including some big names in music playing late night shows. See the full lineup and buy tickets at nojazzfest.com.
Wednesday at the Square
Perfect for solo travelers, Wednesday at the Square is a 12-week spring concert series running from March 2 to May 18 this year. The weekly concerts include food and drinks for sale to benefit the Young Leadership Council, the event organizer and local nonprofit created to develop leadership through community projects.
While some dates will be more crowded than others, especially depending on the weather, Wednesday at the Square is one of the best festivals to bring a chair and camp out while enjoying the dozen or so food cart offerings. A variety of food and beverages will be available for purchase from local vendors over the course of the series. More information and all concert dates are available at wednesdayatthesquare.com.