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Saturday, December 3, 2022

French Quarter Festival Finally Returns After Two-Year Hiatus from Covid

It’s been two years since New Orleans’ French Quarter hosted the greatest free festival and exhibition of Louisiana music, food, and culture.

However, in April 2022, the French Quarter Festival will return. The event was canceled in 2020 and last year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’ve worked hard and waited patiently, and now the countdown to our 2022 spring festival has officially begun,” said Emily Madero, president and CEO of French Quarter Festivals, Inc., the organization that puts on the event.

“With over 1,800 local bands, more than 50 chefs and restaurants, new interactive fan experiences, and nightly programming around the city, we’re back stronger than ever.” FQFI is excited to start off the festival season in New Orleans with a genuinely authentic celebration, and we invite everyone to join us for four wonderful days.”

Thousands of spectators are anticipated to flock to the French Quarter from the Old U.S. Mint to Woldenberg Park along the Mississippi Riverfront from April 21 to April 24 to hear more than 260 bands play on the festival’s 20 stages. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which will take place at the Fair Grounds Race Course the next two weekends, will kick off three weeks of music.

According to The Times Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, singer Tarriona “Tank” Ball was on hand to assist announce the festival’s springtime return.

Ball beams as he says, “I love the cuisine, I love the people, I love how open and free it is.” “It’s great to be back.”

Ball, who is a member of the Grammy-nominated band Tank and the Bangas, will perform alongside Irma Thomas, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, the Soul Rebels, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Amanda Shaw, Chubby Carrier, Little Freddie King, John Boutte, Jeremy Davenport, and Rickie Lee Jones, who will be making her festival debut.

Loose Cattle, the Americana band led by Tony Award-winning actor and part-time New Orleans resident Michael Cerveris; the Lilli Lewis Project; Da Truth Brass Band; Gumbeaux Juice; the Electric Yat Quartet; Notel Motel; and Cuban-born percussionist Alexey Marti are among the other artists performing for the first time.

The music will be played everyday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. The full program will be available in late March.

General entrance is free, but VIP tickets cost $129 each day or $399 for the whole weekend.

The festival’s food stalls will be supplied by more than 50 local businesses.

The French Quarter Celebration, like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, moved its springtime festival to the fall in 2020 and 2021 in the aim of lowering COVID infection rates. The French Quarter Fest, like Jazz Fest, had to cancel its fall dates as well.

However, around 1,500 musicians and gig workers who were hired for last year’s festival were only paid in part. Chevron, the French Quarter Festival’s principal sponsor, donated $150,000 to make such payments possible. Last year, Jazz Fest also gave performers a portion of their initial compensation.

When this year’s French Quarter Festival festival was booked, acts scheduled to perform in 2020 and 2021 were given “first preference,” according to Madero.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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