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GoNOLA Picks: French Quarter Fest Music

French Quarter Festival takes place April 10-13 and features four days of local New Orleans musicians. Check out our picks for the best music.

The award-winning French Quarter Festival offers everything you could want in a festival: great food, spectacular music, friendly crowds, and, amazingly, it’s all free. This year the festival will run April 10-13: that’s four whole days of live music from talented local musicians. With over half a million guests attending in recent years, this is a New Orleans festival not to be missed. Here are some of the artists we’re looking forward to playing throughout the weekend.

french quarter fest
Pictured: Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Serenaders (Photo by Cedric Ellsworth)

French Quarter Festival Artists

Thursday, April 10

Flow Tribe: This six-member New Orleans band is known for constant touring. Flow Tribe has an infectious energy that gets the crowd swinging their hips and perform their unique twist on funk rock. Be prepared to groove! Flow Tribe plays at 5:15 p.m. on the NOLA Big River Stage.

Eric Lindell: Eric Lindell is a soulful New Orleans blues singer who also dabbles in R&B. He’s got a new record coming out in late April, which you can preview on his website. Eric Lindell plays at 3:15 p.m. on the NOLA Big River Stage.

Irma Thomas: Surely you’ve heard of the Soul Queen of New Orleans! Thomas is a Grammy Award winner who began singing at the age of 18 and has had a productive and successful singing career for the last 55 years. Irma Thomas plays at 2:15 p.m. on the Abita Beer Stage.

Friday, April 11

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue: This lady and her band are an absolute pleasure to watch live. Their third album, “Last to Leave,” just came out and their music can be classified as “country swing.” See Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue play at 12:30 p.m. on the Absolute Louis-Louis Pavilion Stage.

Kid Merv and All That Jazz: “Kid Merv” is the nickname of Mervin Campbell, who you may have seen playing with other local acts like the Treme Brass Band. He is also a former member of Soul Rebels and Olympia Brass Band.  His current outfit is a five-piece jazz group. Kid Merv and All That Jazz plays at 3:15 p.m. on the Louis Pavilion Stage.

Rotary Downs: This local New Orleans rock band has been a local favorite for over 10 years and currently consists of six male members who play buoyant, danceable indie rock. They have a new album, “Traces,” out this month. Rotary Downs plays WWL’s Esplanade in the Shade Stage at 3:45 p.m.

Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Serenaders: Don Vappie is a performer of many talents, most notably his skills with the banjo; he is also a local educator and was featured in a PBS documentary about the rebirth of New Orleans. At French Quarter Fest, he will be leading the Creole Jazz Serenaders, a classic jazz orchestra at 12:45 p.m. on the Capital One Jackson Square Stage.

Saturday, April 12

Corey Henry’s Treme Funktet: These guys recently took over the Thursday night spot at Vaughan’s in the Bywater. Corey Henry is a trombonist who has played alongside Galactic whose style is a combination of traditional New Orleans jazz, brass and and funk. This is the group’s first time playing at French Quarter Fest and they can be seen at 4:00 p.m. at the Popeyes Barracks St. Brass Band Jam.

NOCCA Jazz Ensemble: Another first for the Festival, this jazz ensemble is a group of talented young high-school students who study all types of jazz. NOCCA is an arts training center in New Orleans for high school students, and watching these students perform is a great way to support their hard work. See them at 11:00 a.m. on the Harrah’s Stage.

Walter “Wolfman” Washington and the Roadmasters: Walter Wolfman Washington is a self-taught, well-known New Orleans singer and guitarist. He is known for being all smiles on stage and will be playing twice at French Quarter Festival (he’s also playing Thursday with Joe Krown and Russell Batiste). See the Wolfman play on the Abita Beer Stage at 7:30 p.m.

The Dixie Cups: Most famous for their “Chapel of Love” single, this girl group from the 60s will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. The group consists of two sisters, Barbara and Rosa Hawkins, and Athelgra Neville. See The Dixie Cups at 2:15 p.m. on the Abita Beer Stage.

Sunday, April 13

Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra: The Mardi Gras Indians are easily recognizable by their colorful, intricately beaded costumes. The Orchestra features Indians playing alongside local musicians. They started the group roughly six years ago and play annually on Mardi Gras Day, but this is the first time they’ll be performing at French Quarter Fest. See the Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra perform at 4:30 p.m. on the Absolute Louis-Louis Pavilion Stage.

Astral ProjectFormed in the late 70s, this New Orleasn jazz quartet is extremely talented. The group’s name is a nod to those seeking a “higher plane of experience.” See the Astral Project at 5:30 p.m. on WWL’s Esplanade in the Shade Stage.

Ingrid Lucia: A New Orleanian since the age of one, Lucia grew up singing in her family’s band, The Flying Neutrinos. She has had a healthy solo career alongside her time with the family group. More recently, she founded the New Orleans Nightingales, a group of local female singers. See Ingrid Lucia play at 12:30 p.m. on WWL’s Esplanade in the Shade Stage.

Raw Oyster Cult: This New Orleans supergroup features members from The Radiators, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, and Papa Grows Funk. They remake Radiators songs, as well as perform their own original numbers. See Raw Oyster Cult at 5:30 p.m. on the Abita Beer Stage.

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