29th anniversary celebration to deliver new kinds of fun for festivalgoers
Tourism officials call French Quarter Festival ‘the kickoff to festival season in New Orleans,’ and what started as a neighborhood festival and a ‘locals event’ has grown into one of the largest music festivals in the United States. The 2011 French Quarter Festival hosted over 500,000 local and out-of-town visitors and had an economic impact of over $245 million. ‘Locals’ Lagniappe Day’ was launched in 2011 and French Quarter Festival officially became a four-day event. In 2012, there is even more festival to enjoy, with extended hours on opening day, Thursday, April 12. And, next year brings the 30th anniversary of this exciting and beloved festival.
Remaining dedicated to New Orleans Music and our Musicians
On twenty (of its twenty-one) music stages, only Louisiana artists are featured (the festival hosts one ‘International Stage’ where traditional jazz bands from all over the world perform.) Part of the great appeal of French Quarter Festival is that attendees get a true and authentic New Orleans experience – locals and visitors can hear a broad range of artists and a diverse variety of musical styles and genres. French Quarter Festival is committed to keeping Traditional Jazz alive, and features New Orleans’ finest artists throughout the four days of festival, on stages all over the French Quarter. A new music stage has been added in 2012, bringing the total to twenty-one. A Cabaret Stage debuts at this year’s festival and will have its home at the beautifully renovated Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. The Hotel Monteleone is a sponsor of the festival and its ‘official hotel’.
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. recently launched the Musician Sponsorship Program, in which the community was invited to ‘adopt an artist’ at French Quarter Festival. The response has been incredible and corporations, foundations and individuals from all over the United States – from Minneapolis to Maryland – have joined the program and are helping to keep French Quarter Festival FREE for the community, as it remains one of the largest music festivals in the United States. The 2012 French Quarter Festival will feature over 800 local artists. The musician program will continue to seek sponsorships.
2012 French Quarter Festival – little changes that will make a big difference!
- The festival has added a full, fourth day – dubbed ‘Locals’ Lagniappe Day.’ The festival opens Thursday, April 12 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. in Jackson Square (one stage) and Woldenberg Riverfront Park, with four stages. New Orleans’ finest restaurants –otherwise known as ‘The World’s Largest Jazz Brunch’ will be serving classic New Orleans dishes throughout the festival.
- In partnership with Applitite, the French Quarter Festival iPhone App is back, along with a new DROID App – and this year it is FREE, courtesy of Capital One Bank. Fans can receive up to the minute announcements, downloadable music schedules, complete menus, special events, merchandise updates, shuttle information and unique offers to enhance their festival experience. The application will be available for download in March, prior to French Quarter Festival.
- The Capital One Bank Second Line Shuttle is growing with the French Quarter Festival audience! A sixth bus will be added to help transport local fans to the festival Friday through Sunday. Parking will be offered in the Central Business District along O’Keefe Street for just $10 per day and the shuttle ride is FREE, courtesy of Capital One Bank.
- Fireworks are back! 2012 brings the return of the beloved fireworks display on the Mississippi River – last seen at French Quarter Festival in April 2005 (pre-Katrina). This major sponsorship is courtesy of Tropical Isle, a long time participant and friend of French Quarter Festival. The elaborate show will begin at 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 14. Local fireworks producer Pyrotecnico will produce the show for French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
- In 2011, New Orleans food critic, radio host, and author – Tom Fitzmorris – called French Quarter Festival’s World’s Largest Jazz Brunch one of the top three food events in New Orleans (the other two are the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and FQFI’s Reveillon menus). In recognition of the major food event that the festival has become, local award-winning author Kit Wohl tipped her hat by doing a special edition of her new book New Orleans Classic Brunches especially for French Quarter Festival. In the book, Wohl features Jazz Brunch restaurants – with beloved local recipes, cocktails and lore. The special-edition signed and numbered book will be on sale at French Quarter Festival. A portion of the sales will benefit the non-profit French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
- The ever-popular Children’s Headquarters will be expanded for 2012. Festival-goers can enjoy two completely different familyfun experiences on Saturday and Sunday: The newest addition is the beautiful courtyard of the Hermann-Grima House, located at 820 St. Louis Street. Major local museums will offer fascinating and fun hands-on activities. In addition, young visitors will learn how to churn butter, tend a garden, and more. Built in 1831, Hermann-Grima House is one of the most significant residences in New Orleans. Its courtyard garden boasts the only horse stable and functional 1830s outdoor kitchen in the French Quarter. The outdoor hearth kitchen, with its view of the antique roses, citrus and parterre gardens, provides a dynamic experience for visitors. Families can also enjoy a riverfront kids area at the Audubon Aquarium Riverfront Plaza, made possible in part through an exciting partnership with Chevron, Tulane Hospital for Children and the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. Anchoring the riverfront Children’s Headquarters is a Kids’ Performance Tent with live music.
- French Quarter Festivals, Inc. works closely with New Orleans Police and a private security company (FESS, Inc.) to ensure that visitors have a safe an enjoyable experience at French Quarter Festival. New for 2012, the festival is pleased to welcome the New Orleans Guardian Angels Bike Team to French Quarter Festival. Bike teams will patrol the French Quarter and Riverfront and will also provide EMS support. Guardian Angels work closely with the New Orleans Police Department.
- The TGIF ‘Thank Goodness it’s Festival!’ kickoff fundraiser takes place Wednesday, April 11, from 6-9 p.m. at the House of Blues, with Jon Cleary and the Philthy Phew in the Music Hall and Traditional Jazz in the VooDoo Garden.
Strong partnerships are a major part of French Quarter Festival
In order to keep French Quarter Festival free and open to the public, the organization relies heavily on the contributions of sponsors and partners, beverage and merchandise sales, and vendor fees. For 2012, the festival is thrilled to welcome back Capital One Bank, as Presenting Sponsor.
In collaboration with BMI, French Quarter Festival welcomes back for its third year the BMI Singer Songwriter Stage at The Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street. Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 400,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. On Saturday and Sunday of the festival, the BMI Songwriter Stage will feature the region’s finest up-and-comers.
2012 also welcomes the return of dance lessons at the French Market Traditional Jazz Stage; Zydeco dance lessons at the Cajun Zydeco Riverfront Stage; and second line dance lessons in the Children’s Headquarters near Audubon Aquarium. Between musical breaks, festival patrons are invited to learn traditional dance-styles such as the Charleston, Swing, Zydeco and Second-line. Instructors from NOLA Jitterbugs will demonstrate and educate visitors on these various dance styles.
Festival Sponsors for the 29th annual French Quarter Festival as of February 9, 2012 include: Capital One Bank (Presenting Sponsor), Abita Brewing Company, WWL-TV, Tropical Isle, Rouses Market, Harrah’s Foundation, French Market Corporation, Chevron, New TUMS Freshers, Louisiana Office of Tourism, City of New Orleans, Brown Foundation, Musician’s Performance Fund, Louisiana State Museum, PJ’s Coffee, nola.com, Louisiana Lottery, House of Blues, Hotel Monteleone, United Airlines, Pat O’s on the River, Hard Rock Café, Windsor Court Hotel, BMI, Court of Two Sisters, Tulane Medical Center, Tulane Hospital for Children at Tulane Medical Center, Hermann Grima House, Applitite, Musical Legends Park, New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, Rolland Lock and Safe, Pelican Ice, SDT, OffBeat Magazine, Where Y’at Magazine, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, NOLA Jitterbugs, NOTV, NOLA Baby & Family Magazine, Musical Legends Park, Preservation Hall, The Historic New Orleans Collection, St. Louis Cathedral, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, NewOrleans.com, Louisiana Cookin’, Kids and Family New Orleans, IntheKnowla.com, Where Magazine, Curve Magazine, Ambush Magazine, New Orleans Magazine, Louisiana Life Magazine, Acadian Profile, MyNewOrleans.com, St. Charles Avenue Magazine, New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles, 96.1 The River, 101.5 WYNK, 102.5 WFMF, and 1150AM WJOB.