Music Festivals in New Orleans and Louisiana
What better place to merge good people, food and music than at one of the many music festivals that dot across Louisiana. Visitors can mingle seamlessly with locals while listening to native sounds and music from across the globe.
In New Orleans, the celebrated Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May every year. Don't be fooled by the name. While this 40-plus-year-old festival certainly draws some of the best jazz artists, it's hard to think of a musical style that isn't represented here. Find seven days worth of performances by artists such as Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Maroon 5, The Black Keys, B.B. King, Trombone Shorty and Dave Matthews Band.
The French Quarter Festival in April is one of the very best ways to experience Louisiana music history! This mega festival spans 4 days and attracts over 800,000 visitors. There are more than 20 stages hosting all genres of local music: traditional and contemporary jazz; R&B; New Orleans funk; brass bands; folk; gospel; Latin; zydeco; etc. All in the historical French Quarter, which is an attraction in itself. What's more, it's free to attend!
The annual Satchmo Summerfest and Voodoo Experience both welcome live music enthusiasts in August and October respectively. Over 26,000 people will gather at the Old U.S. Mint to pay tribute to the life, legacy and music of Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong. The nostalgic sounds of King Louis give way to the very latest in popular music when the Voodoo Experience opens its gates early November. Past year’s headliners include Eminem, Justice, Lenny Kravitz, The Flaming Lips, Kiss and more.
If you don't know who Louis Armstrong is he was born and raised in New Orleans. He hit his stride in the 1920s as an inventive cornet and trumpet player as his style of music was influential within the jazz community by inserting solo performances into his improvised music. Plus with Armstrong's recognisable gravelly voice he was also an influential singer who enjoyed 'scat singing' - using sounds instead of actual lyrics. When Armstrong's career ended in the 1960s he was a popular and highly influential musician who has left his imprint on the world of jazz and the city of New Orleans.
If you are visiting the state in May, the largest and most popular Cajun festival in Louisiana, the Mudbug Madness Festival, is definitely worth adding to your Deep South schedule.. This is a 3-day celebration of local crawfish and Cajun cuisine, with three stages of the very best in live Zydeco, Cajun, Blues and Jazz music to accompany the feasting. Very much a family attraction, there are also lots of activities for children to keep them entertained.
The beginning of spring in Louisiana gives life to many things and music is certainly one of them. In Baton Rouge, Blues Festival Week kicks off the last week of April, joined by the largest free music festival in the state, Lafayette’s Festival International.
More music awaits throughout the year at the Opelousas Zydeco Music Festival in September, The Black Pot Festival in Lafayette during November and Baton Rouge’s Swamp Pop Music Festival in July.
Here is a sample of some festivals taking place:
The Essence Music Festival is the largest African American-based music event in the world that attracts more than a half-million people into New Orleans every July. The festival reflects the unique blend of cultures that creates Louisiana. Since 1994 the festival has been the official party with a purpose and continues the legacy with four days of music, empowerment, community and entertainment. Whether you’re partying the night away at the Superdome or attending a free daytime experience at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, you’ll leave the weekend with a fresh outlook on life.
The Cajun French Music Festival held in New Iberia each July with Cajun bands, dancing, food, refreshments, raffles and door prizes, this lively event will serve upbeat Cajun rhythms to the table.
This year's Satchmo SummerFest in New Orleans' French Quarter falls late July/early August. It is the premier American jazz festival dedicated to the life, music and legacy of the Crescent City's native son, Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong.
The Bayou Music Festival features up to 15 local bands and performers from the South Louisiana bayou area with music styles including zydeco, country, rock, pop and more. Food is available for purchase with classic choices ranging from jambalaya, grillades, white beans, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, sweets and soft drinks. Children 12 years and under are admitted for free.