Festivals Galore in New Orleans!
Posted on 01/16/2018
In 2018, New Orleans is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate their 300th birthday with a calendar full of festivals and events. These are a great way for a diverse group to come together for the weekend.
With festivals year-round highlighting its extraordinary food and electrifying music and art, New Orleans is a city that undeniably brings people together and will definitely show you a good time!
Below are only some of the 137+ events on the festival calendar in the Big Easy.
New Orleans has many nicknames including the “Big Easy,” “City that Care Forgot” and the “Northernmost point in the Caribbean.” This is because nowhere else on earth can your clients experience the rich culture that New Orleans is known for.
By far the largest celebration on the calendar, this month-long celebration begins on January 6th and runs through February 13th this year. Known as the “greatest free show on Earth,” clients can catch beads and specialty “throws” while they enjoy parades, eat king cake, a traditional cinnamon flavored oval pastry, or see how the floats are made at Mardi Gras World.
Louisiana Cajun Zydeco Festival
The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival celebrates the rich traditions of southwest Louisiana. The combination of two-step music and spicy seafood are great examples of how Louisianans “pass” a good time. This year the festival will be held on June 23-24, 2018.
New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz, and it’s impossible to roam the city without the sound of music filling the air. If your clients are music lovers, a music festival would be a perfect idea for their vacation. The festivals below will be a sure hit and have a diverse lineup so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
With jazz, pop, funk, hip-hop, rock, zydeco, indie, blues and more than thirteen music stages, Jazz Fest has live entertainment for everyone. National headlining acts such as Maroon 5, Tom Petty and Stevie Wonder have performed during Jazz Fest. The seven-day music festival is held at the end of April through the beginning of May at the historic Fair Grounds Race Course and kicks off April 27th this year.
Known as the “party with a purpose,” Essence Festival is a celebration of contemporary black music and culture. Past performers include Beyoncé, Charlie Wilson, Jill Scott, Frankie Beverly, Maze and the locally formed Rebirth Brass Band. Always held over Fourth of July weekend, the 2018 festival will kick off on July 5th.
Voodoo Music Experience
Each year over Halloween weekend, the Voodoo Music Experience hosts a spellbinding weekend of music, food, and culture in the Big Easy. With past performers such as Metallica, Drake, Outkast and the Foo Fighters, this Halloween-themed festival has continuously been a hit.
Clients can dress up in a costume. With food, drinks, interactive large-scale art installations, live entertainment and even carnival rides, the atmosphere at this festival will give your entire group a chance to let loose and have fun.
If it’s food that your clients enjoy, then you’ve come to the right place. New Orleans and food are practically synonymous. From gumbo to beignets, there is never a shortage of good eats here. Your group can savor the flavor at any of these fine food festivals.
N.O. Wine & Food Experience
Calling all food and wine lovers! Over Memorial Day weekend, thousands of food and wine enthusiasts gather in the French Quarter for the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. It showcases hundreds of wineries and restaurants that feature local flavor and innovative new creations.
Top chefs from around the city come together for this four-day event to create culinary experiences like no other. Whether your group consists of food connoisseurs or those just looking for a delicious time on the town, this festival has packages to please everyone in the party.
Tales of the Cocktail
If your group enjoys a cocktail, shake things up for your clients at this week-long festival! From July 17-22, the Tales of the Cocktail festival fills the French Quarter with thousands of people alongside some of the country’s best mixologists and bartenders. Your clients can also enjoy lectures, book signings, dinner pairings, cooking and mixing demonstrations. Let the drinks and the good times roll!
The culture of New Orleans is certainly unlike any other city in the world. This is evidenced by both the food and music. However, New Orleans certainly has more to offer and these festivals serve as lagniappe, or a little something extra, to the Big Easy festival scene.
Tennessee Williams Festival
Playwright, Tennessee Williams gave birth to some of literature’s greatest works and credited the wondrous city of New Orleans as his muse. Held March 21-25, the five-day festival celebrates Tennessee Williams’ work and includes a plethora of noteworthy events.
With speakers, contests, classes for aspiring writers, countless panels and live theater, this festival has it all; but it wouldn’t be complete without the Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest held in Jackson Square!
San Fermin/ Running of the Bulls
Every July in New Orleans, the Annual Running of the Bulls thumps through the streets of downtown New Orleans! The event is meant to pay homage to Encierro of Pamplona held in Spain.
Though there are no actual bulls for the event in New Orleans, you and your crew can run from the Big Easy Rollergirls instead. This adrenaline-pumping event will be fun for any group and, of course, there will be wine and spirits to get you in the spirit before and after the run.
PHOTO: You can't go wrong with a visit to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. (photo courtesy of New Orleans CVB)