New Orleans Music Festivals


Soul Fest - March

Celebrate the 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 Brass Band.  Arrive hungry because there's tons of food with Southern flair, including fried Louisiana alligator kabobs, pork chop po-boys and sweet potato pies.  www.auduboninstitute.org/soul-fest

Old Algiers RiverFest - March - April

Grown from 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

French Quarter Festival - April

This is the largest free music festival in the South with a special focus on New Orleans 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

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - April - May

For more 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

Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo - May

From jazz 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

Vieux to Do: Louisiana Seafood, Creole Tomato & Cajun & Zydeco Festivals - June

Life doesn't get better in the Big Easy than the three-in-one festival known as Vieux to Do, which wraps the Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival, the Louisiana Seafood Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival into one whirlwind weekend.

Essence Music Festival  - July

"Party with 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 Mary J. Blige headlined). essencemusicfestival.com

Satchmo Summerfest - August

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 seminar series, jazz exhibits, a jazz mass and second-line parade, fantastic food and a host of star-studded performers. frenchquarterfestivals.org

Crescent City Blues & BBQ - October

Two things 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

Voodoo Music Experience: -October

Only the coolest take to the stage at this Halloween-themed festival in City Park, 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 TheOriginal Meters, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, and Dr. John. thevoodooexperience.com

Wednesdays at the Square (March-June and September-November)

Spread a 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 from 5-8pm, rain or shine. www.wednesdayatthesquare.com