2008 major sponsors: The Harrah’s Foundation, Abita Brewing Company, Zatarain’s, Southern Comfort
NEW ORLEANS, La. – French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) today announced the countdown to the 25th anniversary of French Quarter Festival (FQF25) taking place the weekend of April 11 -13, 2008. The organization also announced the music lineup; participants in the ‘World’s Largest Brunch’; details of the fundraiser kickoff party ‘TGIF’ – ‘Thank Goodness It’s Festival’ in its new location aboard the Steamboat Natchez; special events at this year’s festival; and plans for the expanded Children’s Area in Dutch Alley at the French Market.
This award-winning festival, a favorite of locals and tourists alike, is the largest free music festival in the South. It was recently named a Top 10 Event by New Orleans CityBusiness and is a Top 20 Destination according to AAA and the Southeast Tourism Society. French Quarter Festival attracts approximately 400,000 fans and generates an economic impact of more than $75 million for the city of New Orleans.
“As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we recognize the incredible support of our community partners, who help us to make this a world-class music and entertainment festival, and the premier showcase of New Orleans’ unique cultural heritage,” said FQFI Executive Director, Marci Schramm. “Additionally, we are celebrating the 25th year of our mission – which is to promote the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans and showcase the culture and heritage of our city, while contributing to the economic well being of the community. Our festival is all about celebrating everything that is uniquely New Orleans, including the music, food, history and culture.”
FQFI announced 2008 entertainers including: The Radiators, Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty, Irvin Mayfield, Fredy Omar con Su Banda, Ronnie Kole, Bruce Daigrepont, Walter Wolfman Washington, Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr, Benjy Davis Project, Amanda Shaw, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Pfister Sisters, French Quarter Festival Allstars with Connie Jones and ‘Rockin’ the Cradle’ – an evolution of jazz in New Orleans tribute by singers Lillian Boutte, Charmaine Neville and Holly Bendtsen with John Boutte and Amasa Miller.
FQFI unveiled the 2008 official merchandise, with original artworks that include a 25th Anniversary Commemorative Poster by New Orleans artists Philip Bascle and a Celebration XXV Art Poster by New Orleans artist Gail Hickman. Artists will sign posters at the festival. Other merchandise includes a limited edition sterling silver pin created by Wellington & Company of Royal Street, anniversary and festival apparel, and a 25th Anniversary Program Book which will include a limited edition music CD featuring eight tracks by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
The Children’s Area at French Quarter Festival has been expanded for 2008. Sponsored and hosted by the French Market Corporation in historic Dutch Alley, events for families will take place Saturday and Sunday. Two stages will have live musical entertainment, sponsored by Tulane Hospital for Children, New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, and Kipp: McDonogh Little Red Schoolhouse. In addition, interactive kids activities will be provided by Audubon Nature Institute, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, Chen Tai Chi and Tamashii Karate Center, East Jefferson Key Club, Greater New Orleans Writing Project, Louisiana State Museum, and Tulane Hospital for Children. In addition, Kid-friendly food will be available for sale in the Children’s Area.
The 2008 Festival kicks off on Friday, April 11th with a second-line parade starting at the 100 block Bourbon Street, stopping at Legends Park, where Ronnie Kole’s statue will be unveiled, alongside Pete Fountain, ‘Fats’ Domino, Al Hirt and Chris Owens and then continuing on to Jackson Square for the official opening of the 2008 festival. Special events scheduled for 2008 include the return of the World Championship Oyster Eating Competition, signature events such as ‘Dancing at Dusk with the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra’, ‘Battle of the Bands’ featuring Tom Hook’s tribute to Louis Prima, Phil Campo and the Loose Change Jazz Band and Ryan Burrage and His Rhythm Makers, and more.
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. announced details of its annual fundraising festival kickoff party, ‘TGIF – Thank Goodness It’s Festival!’ which will take place Thursday evening, April 10th aboard the Steamboat Natchez, dockside. The party will spill out onto the adjacent Toulouse Street Wharf where Rockin’ Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters will entertain the partygoers. Inside the historic Steamboat Natchez guests will enjoy John Royen on piano. The TGIF party has grown so large in size that it was necessary to move from its home at Margaritaville to a larger venue this year and accommodate the growing attendance. Ticket price includes: beverages by Abita, Southern Comfort, Fetzer, and Coca-Cola. Food will be provided by the Steamboat Natchez. Tickets are $50 until April 6th and $65 after April 6th. TGIF tickets can be purchased online at www.fqfi.org or by calling 504-522-5730.
The 17 music stages throughout the French Quarter are scheduled to present the best music New Orleans has to offer, representing every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to rhythm & blues and New Orleans funk, to brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, classical and international. Many musicians that have performed over the last 25 years are being invited to return to play the 25th anniversary festival.
More than 65 food and beverage booths located in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint will feature authentic local cuisine from the area’s finest restaurants to create “The World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.”
Sponsors for the 25th anniversary of French Quarter Festival include: Zatarain’s, The Harrah’s Foundation, Abita Brewing Company, Southern Comfort, Fetzer, Coca-Cola, NOMCVB (New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau), WDSU, iClips, Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Musician’s Performance Fund, Rouse’s Market, OffBeat Magazine, nola.com, French Market Corporation, Cox Business, New Orleans Hornets, Preservation Hall, Community Coffee, Royal Sonesta Hotel, Tulane Medical Center, Vespa, Steamboat Natchez, Court of Two Sisters, Pat O’Brien’s , Where Y’at, neworleansrestaurants.com, Acme Oyster House, WWOZ 90.7 FM, Renaissance Publishing, Capital One Bank, Baldwin-Gibson, Continental Airlines, Louisiana Lottery, Whitney Bank, Legends Park, French Quarter Business Association, WWL AM870, Renaissance Publishing, Herencia Hispana, ClearChannel, KGLA 1540, and WGSO 990.
For more information on all FQFI festivals and events, call 504-522-5730 or visit online at www.fqfi.org.
About French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
The 25th anniversary of French Quarter Festival (FQF25), the largest free music festival in the South, is being produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (www.fqfi.org), the 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, which also produces Satchmo SummerFest in August and Christmas New Orleans Style in December. French Quarter Festivals, Inc. promotes the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans through high quality special events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage of this unique city, contribute to the economic well being of the community, and instill increased pride in the people of New Orleans.
Celebrating New Orleans Culture and Heritage for 25 years!