With over 20 stages of music, 1,400 musicians performing and lots of other entertainment and activities to partake in this April 9-12 at New Orleans' annual French Quarter Festival, or FQF, it can be difficult to keep track of just everything going on. Throw in the fact that some 700,000-plus people attended this annual free event last year and what to do and how to do it can seemingly become even more complex.
But fear not - this free festival isn't a difficult one to manage if you know a little bit about what you're doing. And while we'd encourage you to read up on the festival, take a look at the schedule of events for this year and even do a little bit of planning on your own, we've done some of the homework for you here. With that being said, here's a look at some notable things to do at this year's festival and some tips and tricks on how to manage it all while you're there.
Managing the French Quarter Festival
- Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Allen Toussaint is back to rock the FQF. He'll perform on the afternoon of Thursday, April 12 at the Abita Beer stage.
- The other big name performing at this year's festival is Ellis Marsalis, widely known as the pioneer of modern jazz music. Like Toussaint, Marsalis also plays the opening day of the festival.
- Parking: This is arguably one of the biggest challenges in attending the festival. And with over 700,000 people expected to attend the four-day event, it's easy to see why. Hence, parking is at a premium near the festival. However, do some planning ahead. The FQF normally arranges off-site all-day $10 parking in the Central Business District and offers complimentary shuttles into the French Quarter for festival-goers. Bikes and public transportation are other good ways to get into the area.
- No outside food or beverages are allowed into the festival, so while the festival is free, plan to bring some cash for this if you're going to stick around. You'll have to pass through security checkpoints going into the festival where any outside food or beverages will be confiscated. Know that any money you spend at festival booths, however, all goes back into the FQF, helping to make it remain a free event
- Dancing is encouraged! It's a festival after all. What's more is that free dance lessons are offered each day of the festival, so don't be afraid to bust a move on the sidewalk.
- Download the app: That's right, there's an app for everything these days, including the FQF. Download for iOS or Android devices for maps, menus, music schedules and more to help you stay on track for this year's event.
Remember, the FQF is free, so it's bound to be packed. But that doesn't take away from the fun - just have a plan in place to maximize your enjoyment.
Oh, and be sure to arrive in style with your exclusive Perlis crawfish gear! It's the best way to show up, and show out during the festivities.