The French Quarter Festival returns after a two-year COVID hiatus


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It’s been two years since the largest free festival and showcase of Louisiana music, food and culture took place in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
But that changes in April, when the 2022 French Quarter Festival returns. The coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to cancel the event in 2020 and last year.
“We have worked 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 nonprofit organization that produces the event. “We’re coming back strong with over 1,800 local musicians, over 50 chefs and restaurants, new interactive fan experiences and nightly programming across the city. The FQFI is proud to kick off festival season in New Orleans with a truly authentic celebration and we invite everyone to join us for four unforgettable days.
Thousands of people are expected in the French Quarter, from the Old US Mint to Woldenberg Park along the Mississippi River, to hear more than 260 acts performing on the festival’s 20 stages from April 21-24. The event will kick off three consecutive weeks of music as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is set to kick off the following two weekends at the Fair Grounds Race Course.
Singer Tarriona “Tank” Ball was on hand to help announce the festival’s spring revival, The Times Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.
“I love the food, I love the people, I love how open and free it is,” Ball said, beaming. “We are happy to be back.”
Ball, of Grammy-nominated band Tank and the Bangas, joins a roster of artists scheduled to perform, including 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 singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, who will make his festival debut.
Other artists performing for the first time include Loose Cattle, the Americana band fronted by Tony Award-winning actor and part-time New Orleans resident Michael Cerveris; the Lilli Lewis Project; Marching Band Da Truth; Gumbeaux juice; the Yat electric quartet; Notel Motel and Cuban-born percussionist Alexey Marti.
Music will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The full program is to be published at the end of March.
General admission is free, but VIP packages are available for $129 per day or $399 for the four-day weekend.
More than 50 local restaurants will supply the festival food kiosks.
In 2020 and 2021, the French Quarter Festival, like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, postponed its usual spring festival to the fall, in hopes that COVID infection rates would decrease. Just like the Jazz Fest, the French Quarter Fest has also canceled its fall dates.
But around 1,500 contracted musicians and gig workers for last year’s festival ended up receiving partial payment anyway. These payments were funded by a $150,000 donation from Chevron, the main sponsor of the French Quarter Festival. The Jazz Fest also paid musicians a percentage of their initial fees last year.
Acts scheduled to play in 2020 and 2021 were given “first priority” when booking this year’s French Quarter festival, Madero said.


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