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Festival Season in New Orleans

When the weather warms and the days grow longer, you can bet one thing… It's Festival Season in New Orleans! There is nothing better than good food, good drinks and good music all in one place. Here is a list of some of the most popular festivals in the city, so you won't miss a beat!

French Quarter Festival

When: annually mid April

Where: French Quarters New Orleans

This entire section of town shuts down and becomes a pedestrian walkway for the weekend. Music from some of the best local bands spill into the streets from 20 plus stages. You can find everything from jazz to gospel. Don’t sleep on the local music; there are some great local bands. Before you know it, you will be an active participant in a joyful celebration. My personal favorite is the brass brand stage. Oh and the FOOD! The fest features food from some of the city's top restaurants. Did I mention that the festival was free? There is no admission fee into this festival.

Pros: free admission, great food and music

Cons: tends to be a bit overcrowded and long lines at food stands

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

When: annually the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May

Where: New Orleans' Fairgrounds

This long-standing festival occurs every spring and celebrates Louisiana, while featuring some nationally well-known artists. Past lineups have included John Legend, Jill Scott, Muisq Soulchild just to name a few. As for the food: Crawfish bread, shrimp po-boys, crawfish, soft shell crab, are just a few of the mouth-watering foods available at the festival. Don’t forget to get a mango freeze or a large strawberry lemonade. It usually rains one or two days of this festival. So it might be a good idea to add an umbrella to the packing list. The rain can make the fairgrounds rather muddy. I would leave the expensive sandals at home.

Pros: the food and music of course. Family friendly event

Cons: the weather. It's hot. It rains almost every year at some point during the festival

Essence Festival

When: usually July 4th weekend

Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome and the Morial Convention Center

One of the biggest and baddest festivals of the season! The hottest concert of the year coupled with empowerment seminars and day parties. Essence nationally acclaimed artists visit NOLA for a weekend long party that gets bigger every year. Past headliners have included Prince, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Frankie Beverly and Maze, to name a few. There is also an array of expos and events that bask in Essence's glory. The Natural Hair Expo also takes place that weekend at the Contemporary Art Centers, right in the center of all the action. Natural hair seminars and vendors are well on their way to becoming a July 4th stable in NOLA. Please plan ahead, with so many events going on you don’t want to miss a beat.

Pros: Great Artists all under one roof. So much to do much within walking distance.

Cons: Flights and hotel prices can be expensive around the Fourth of July. Popular nights of festival concert often sell out early.

Satchmo Summerfest

When: usually around the first week of August

Where: On the grounds of the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint.

This festival pays homage to New Orleans' own Louis Armstrong. This festival has two large bandstands, food vendors, and some other similarities of other festivals in New Orleans. Arriving later in the season, the Summerfest has some tough acts to follow. Yet, it still offers the same local flair on a smaller scale. There are free seminars on jazz, as well as, the life and times of Louis Armstrong throughout the weekend.

Pros: small crowd, seminars, good food and music

Cons: less acts and food vendors when compared to other festival earlier in the summer

#guestblog #neworleans #uscityguide

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