Music Festivals

10 Famous Music Festivals In New Orleans, Louisiana

People enjoying vibrant and colorful atmosphere at BUKU music festival in New Orleans during the sunset.
Source : jonesaroundtheworld

New Orleans is best known for its jazz music and world-class brass bands. The city in Louisiana hosts numerous music festivals around the year.

Unlike most other places, the festivals in New Orleans are more inclined to showcase the rich musical style and food, and cuisines of the city. Some of the music festivals in New Orleans like French Quarter Fest and Essence Music Festival attract over a million visitors every year combined.

Here are some of the ten best music festivals in New Orleans that should be on your bucket list.

10 Best Music Festivals In New Orleans

Name Of FestivalLocation
French Quarter FestFrench Quarter Neighborhood, New Orleans
Essence Music FestivalCaesars Superdome, New Orleans
New Orleans Jazz FestivalFair Grounds Race Course, New Orleans
Voodoo Music + Arts ExperienceCity Park, New Orleans
BUKU Music + Art ProjectMardi Gras World, New Orleans
Hogs for the CauseUNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans
Gentilly FestPontchartrain Park Playground, New Orleans
Jazz In The ParkLouis Armstrong Park, New Orleans
Bayou Boogaloo Music FestivalBayou St. John in Mid-City, New Orleans
Satchmo SummerFestOld New Orleans Mint, New Orleans

You May Like:

1. French Quarter Fest

People holding banner of French Quarter Festival in New Orleans.
Source : neworleans

French Quarter Fest is the largest music festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event attracts over 875,000 people annually.

The event was established in 1983 after the mayor of New Orleans appointed 9 business owners and one musician to come up with a new festival. The first edition of the fest was held the following year in 1984 and has since occurred annually with exceptions in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

French Quarter Fest is dubbed the largest show of music of Louisiana in the world with hundreds of local musicians performing in over 20 stages throughout the old neighborhood of the French Quarter.

The genres performed include traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret, and international.

Quicks Facts About French Quarter Fest

  • When: The festival is held in April Every year.
  • How Long: The event lasts 3 days every year
  • Where: The festival is hosted across the French Quarter Neighborhood of New Orleans

2. Essence Music Festival

A large crowd of people enjoying performance at Essence Music Festival.
Source : essence

Essence Music Festival hosts nearly 500,000 attendees annually making it the second largest festival in the city. The festival was established in 1995.

The festival was founded to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence Magazine but the festival has grown significantly both in terms of number of attendance and number of performances over the past three decades.

All editions of Essence Music Festival have been held in New Orleans, except for the 2006 edition due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The 2023 edition saw artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, Ice Cube, and Janelle Monáe, among others perform for the crowd.

Things To Know About Essence Music Festival

  • When: Late June to Early July
  • Where: Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • How Long: 3 to 5 days, depending on the particular year.

3. New Orleans Jazz Festival

Crowd gathering in front of the main stage of New Orleans Jazz Festival.
Source : cnn

New Orleans Jazz Festival is one of the largest Jazz events in the world with over 475,000 annual attendance. The event is the 3rd largest in New Orleans.

The festival is officially named as New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and it was founded in 1970 by The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization with an aim to distribute the revenue from the festival to the local community.

The event features 14 different stages covering a number of genres including Blues, Contemporary Jazz, Gospel, and many others. The major stages are The Acura Stage (main stage), Blues Tent (blue music), Gospel Tent (gospel music), and many others.

Apart from the music, New Orleans Jazz Festival also hosts local food vendors and local craft vendors. While the festival strictly restricts the typical carnival foods, the local vendors prepare cuisines from around New Orleans reflecting culture and history.

Quicks Facts About New Orleans Jazz Festival

  • When: Every year in April or May.
  • Where: Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • How Long: 10 days.

4. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Fireworks seen behind well decorated stage of Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.
Source : rove

Voodoo Music plus Arts Experience is an annual festival hosted by New Orleans attracting over 180,000 attendees every year. The event was inaugurated in 1999.

The festival started as a one-day Halloween special musical event in the city of New Orleans in 1999 but it has now grown to a multi-day music fest. The management was taken over by C3 Presents, the managers of prestigious festivals including Lollapalooza in 2016 making multiple changes.

Now, the event features multiple stages, and bands and artists like Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, Marilyn Manson, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Muse, Eminem, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others have performed at the festival previously.

However, the event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the 2022 event was canceled for unknown reasons. The organizers have not announced anything for 2023 as well.

Apart from music from world-class artists and bands, festivalgoers were also able to enjoy local delicacies from around New Orleans all while immersing themself into the local arts and culture.

Things To Know About Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

  • When: Last week of October every year.
  • Where: City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • How Long: 2 to 4 days depending on the particular year.

5. BUKU Music + Art Project

Festivalgoers gather around the main stage during sunset at BUKU Music + Art Project.
Source : billboard

BUKU Music + Art Project is an annual event held at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. The festival attracts nearly 50,000 visitors every year.

The festival was established in 2012 by Winter Circle Productions and has grown in size significantly in the last decade. The festival can now accommodate 25,000 visitors per day during its two-day event every year.

The inaugural saw performance from artists such as Avicii, Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, YelaWolf, and Sepalcure, among others. The 2022 edition of the festival saw Porter Robinson, Rezz, Tyler, the Creator, Tame Impala, and Alison Wonderland, among others perform for the crowd.

However, the event did not return for March 2023 and organizers issued a statement saying the future is unseen hinting the event might never return, at least in its current form. The organizers did say we all will gather someday.

Quicks Facts

  • When: Every year in March.
  • Where: Mardi Gras World, New Orleans, Lousiana.
  • How Long: The event is held for two days straight.

6. Hogs for the Cause

People enjoy live music and barbecue at Hogs for the Cause.
Source : neworleans

Hogs for the Cause is an annual music and food festival from New Orleans, Louisiana. The event is attended by over 30,000 visitors every year.

The festival is held annually for two days, unlike other festivals and events in our list, Hogs for the Cause is exactly as it sounds. The revenue from the music and barbeque festival goes towards charity to support children suffering from cancer.

As a festival, the event is attended by over 30,000 people to watch and listen to over 20 bands playing in two days and enjoy a barbecue prepared by 90 teams competing to be crowned the best barbecuing team of all the participants.

The 2023 edition of the festival held between March 31 and April 1 saw bands and artists such as St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Charles Wesley Godwin, Big Something, and The Heavy Heavy among others play during the two days.

Quick Facts

  • When: Late March or Early April.
  • Where: UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • How Long: The event his held for two days.

7. Gentilly Fest

A banner announcing the dates for 2023 Gentilly Fest.
Source : facebook

Gentilly Fest is a multi-day music and food festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. The festival attracts over 20,000 visitors annually.

The festival features two stages, the main stage and St. Thomas Tent. The main stage hosts artists and bands performing Jazz music and the show is named Jazz Under the Stars while the St. Thomas Tent hosts Gospel musicians and artists perform their soulful songs.

The past festivals saw up-and-rising groups and individuals including Indys Blu, the Brian Quezergue Quartet, Brass A Holics, Water Seed, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Erica Falls, and Quiana Lynell, among others.

Apart from music from numerous artists on two different stages, the festival also features a wide selection of local cuisines and delicacies reflecting the rich New Orleans culture and history. Furthermore, the event is also a major fundraiser for the local first respondents as well.

Quick Facts

  • When: Late October or Early November every year.
  • Where: Pontchartrain Park Playground, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • How long: The event is hosted for three days every year.

8. Jazz In The Park

A local jazz band perform in front of the Louis Armstrong park as part of Jazz In The Park.
Source : pinterest

Jazz In The Park is a multi-day event held every Thursday in the spring and fall seasons every year. The event features numerous local and national bands and artists.

Although Jazz in the Park is not your everyday festival running for a few days a year, it is one of the most famous events in New Orleans. The events are free for all and everyone, locals and tourists, kids and adults, and men and women enjoy the jazz music at Louis Armstrong Park every Thursday after 4.

Despite being a free event, bands and artists such as Brassaholics, Hot 8 Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, and Jon Cleary, often take to the stage to amaze the festivalgoers with their melodious music time and again.

With events drawing crowds of over 17,500 people each season, it is one of the most attended festivals in New Orleans.

Things To Know

  • When: Every fall and spring season on Thursdays after 4 p.m.
  • Where: Louis Armstrong Park, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • How Long: The event lasts for all of the fall and all of the spring every year.

9. Bayou Boogaloo Music Festival

Festivalgoers enjoying boating at Bayou St. John during Bayou Boogaloo Music Festival.
Source : midcitymessenger

Bayou Boogaloo Music Festival is an annual musical event featuring multiple stages and numerous artists. The event attracts over 15,000 visitors every year.

The festival is held on the shore of Bayou St. John in Mid-City every year, festivalgoers can expect live music from numerous stages all while enjoying local foods and drinks of New Orleans. Moreover, attendees are up for a treat as they get to enjoy the festival from boats and rafts.

The 2023 edition was headlined by The Quickening, LeTrainiump, and Johnny Sansone, for three days. Moreover, Bon Bon Vivant, Juvenile with Live Band, and The Low End Theory Players, among others played live music for the attendees as well.

Apart from music, food, and drinks, Yoga sessions and eating competitions filled the gaps between the musical performances entertaining the crowd from start to finish.

Quick Facts

  • When: In May of every year.
  • Where:  Bayou St. John in Mid-City, New Orleans.
  • How Long: The festival is held for three straight days during the weekend starting from Friday.

10. Satchmo SummerFest

People parading holding the banner of Satchmo SummerFest and picture of Louis Armstrong in his honor.
Source : facebook

Satchmo SummerFest is an annual music festival in New Orleans. The festival is one of the best in the city to celebrate jazz music and local food.

The festival was founded in 2001 and is held annually to celebrate jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong. The multi-stage festival is held for two consecutive days in early August to coincide with Armstrong's birthday on August 4th every year.

The 2023 edition which was held on August 5 and August 6 saw performances from renowned artists including Shotgun Jazz Band, Preservation Brass, Louie & the ASSUNTO Dukes, Doyle Copper Band, Linda Aubert, and Jeremy Devenport, among numerous others.

Quick Facts

  • When: Early August every year.
  • Where: old New Orleans Mint in the Louisiana State Museum.
  • How Long: The festival is held for two days during the weekend every year.