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Jon Cleary performs at French Quarter Festival.

Irma Thomas, Galactic, Ellis Marsalis and George Porter Jr. are among headliners at French Quarter Festival April 11-14. The free festival draws crowds for performances by nearly 300 bands on stages stretching from the New Orleans Jazz Museum to the Aquarium of the Americas and throughout the historic district.

A second line opens the festival at 10 a.m. Thursday and there’s music on six stages including Galactic and Rebirth Brass Band on the main stage. There also are stages in Woldenberg Park, Jax Brewery and Jackson Square. A stage on Decatur Street at Bienville Street is dedicated to Cajun and zydeco music throughout the festival, and Thursday performers include the Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band and Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band.

On Friday, the festival adds six more stages at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, French Market, House of Blues and Royal Sonesta hotel. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival expands to its maximum 23 stages, including an interview stage at the Jazz Museum, a stage for school bands and a kids’ entertainment stage on the riverfront. Smaller stages on Bourbon and Royal streets and the French Market offer more intimate sets.

The festival lineup is heavy on jazz, rock, funk, R&B, blues, Cajun and zydeco and there’s also gospel by Betty Winn and One A-Chord, bounce from Partners-N-Crime, klezmer-inspired jazz by the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars and Klezervation Hall, Afropop by Kumasi Afrobeat Orchestra and more. There also are visiting bands on the International Stage in Dutch Alley. 

There are 60 food vendors grouped near larger stages, and they include restaurants from the French Quarter and across the city, as well as Vaucresson Sausage Company, Ms. Linda the Ya-ka-mein Lady, Plum Street Snoballs and WWOZ’s mango freeze booth. For a roundup of new French Quarter dining spots.

Other festival programs include free dance lessons at the Chevron Cajun/Zydeco Showcase Stage and the French Market Traditional Jazz Stage.

The following pages include Gambit’s picks for the festival.

Gambit's April 9, 2019 Digital Edition

2019 French Quarter Festival Digital Edition