Dancing through the festival
As part of French Quarter Festivals, Inc.’s partnership with the NOLA Jitterbugs, festival-goers can enjoy free dance lessons at the French Market Traditional Jazz Stage and on the riverfront – at the Cajun-Zydeco Showcase. Professional dance teachers from NOLA Jitterbugs, DancingMan504, Dance Quarter, and Cajun Dance Productions will teach classes.
Friday, April 13:
Cajun-Zydeco Stage – 2:00 Cajun Jitterbug dance lesson / 4:00 Zydeco dance lesson
Traditional Jazz Stage at the French Market: 12:45 Swing dance lesson / 3:00 BrassXcise Second Line dance lesson
Saturday, April 14:
Cajun-Zydeco Stage – 2:00 Zydeco dance lesson / 4:00 Cajun Jitterbug dance lesson
Traditional Jazz Stage at the French Market: 10:30 am Traditional Jazz dance lesson / 12:45 Swing dance lesson / 3:00 BrassXcise Second Line dance lesson
Sunday, April 15:
Cajun-Zydeco Stage – 2:00 Cajun Jitterbug dance lesson / 4:00 Zydeco dance lesson
Traditional Jazz Stage at the French Market: 10:30 am Swing dance lesson / 12:45 1920s Charleston dance lesson / 3:00 Balboa Swing dance lesson
Author and Artists at French Quarter Festival
Festival-goers can enjoy the Pirates Alley Juried Art Show presented by the New Orleans Art Association, open Saturday and Sunday of the festival from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with over 100 artists displaying original fine art on Pirates Alley, Pere Antoine Alley, Cabildo Alley, and Royal Street.
French Quarter Festival Artist and Author Signings, featuring Brandon Delles, official poster artist for the 2012 French Quarter Festival – and Kit Wohl, author of New Orleans Classic Brunches-French Quarter Festival edition – Jackson Square near the merchandise tent – 2012 Poster Artist Brandon Delles will sign every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kit Wohl will sign her book on Friday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
French Quarter Festival Artist Poster Signing and Reception, featuring 2012 French Quarter Festival poster artist Brandon Delles – Vincent Art Gallery, 631 Decatur; hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Musical Special Events at French Quarter Festival
All events are free and open to the public
French Quarter Festival Second-Line Kickoff Parade led by New Birth Brass Band – 100 block of Bourbon Street to Jackson Square – Friday, April 13th at 10 a.m.
Opera at Dusk – operatic performances with musical accompaniment from a beautiful French Quarter Balcony. Sponsored by La Belle Galerie; 300 block of Chartres – Saturday, April 14th at 6 p.m.
Battle of the Bands – Traditional Jazz bands compete in a rousing playoff on the steps of the Supreme Court building on Royal Street. This year’s bands include Cori Walters and the Universe Jazz Band, Andrew Hall’s Memories of New Orleans and Bob Walters’ Good Time Jazz Band – 400 block of Royal Street – Saturday, April 14th from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Concert at St. Louis Cathedral – Grammy Award-winner Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will perform original Jazz arrangements of Negro spirituals and sacred music – St. Louis Cathedral – Saturday, April 14th at 6 p.m.
Dancing at Dusk – Audiences will be ‘In the Mood’ for a ‘Sentimental Journey’ with the sounds of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie and other favorites from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Dance and swing on picturesque Royal Street at this festival favorite. This year’s big band is Rocky’s Hot Fox Trot Orchestra – 400 Block of Royal Street – Sunday, April 15th from 6 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
The St. Louis Cathedral Annual Spring Concert – Under the direction of Dreux Montegut, the Saint Louis Cathedral Concert Choir and Orchestra, joined by Loyola University Chamber Singers and New Orleans Vocal Arts Chorale, will perform at the St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square. The combined ensembles will perform the Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, K 339 by W. A. Mozart and the Missa Kenya by Paul Basler – St. Louis Cathedral – Sunday, April 15th at 7 p.m.
Rouses World Championship Crawfish Eating Contest
Hosted by the IFEA (International Federation of Eating)
Professional and celebrity eaters battle to eat the most crawfish by the pound. The professional eaters round will be preceded by a media round – Old U.S. Mint, 400 Barracks Street – Saturday, April 14th at 12 noon.
Fireworks are back!
Sponsored by Tropical Isle
2012 brings the return of the fireworks show presented by Pyrotecnico and sponsored by Tropical Isle. Fireworks are scheduled for Saturday, April 14th at 9 p.m. over the Mississippi River. Fireworks were last seen at French Quarter Festival in April 2005 (pre-Hurricane Katrina).
Let Them Talk: Conversations on Louisiana Music
Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint, 3rd Floor – 400 Esplanade
Sponsored and presented by French Quarter Festivals, Inc. and the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, with support from the University of New Orleans Midlo Center, Hogan Jazz Archives at Tulane University, and the Louisiana State Museum.
Saturday, April 14
12:00PM — The Many Sides Of Sunpie — Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes is a multi-faceted exponent of New Orleans and Louisiana music and culture — who does distinguished work as a Ranger for the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park — and crowd-pleasing turns as the multi-instrumentalist (harmonica, piano, accordion) leader of Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots. Meet Bruce Barnes in this interview with Fred Kasten.
1:00PM — Super Sousaphone — New Orleans sousaphone virtuoso Matt Perrine is also a big time performer on acoustic and electric bass — and that versatility keeps Matt in demand with an eclectic range of bands — including the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Tin Men and John Ellis’s Double Wide. Find out more about the life and career of Matt Perrine in this interview with Fred Kasten.
2:00PM — Groove Interrupted — Longtime Times-Picayune music writer Keith Spera’s recent book Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal, and the Music of New Orleans includes a chapter about the recording of jazz trumpeter Jeremy Davenport’s 2009 album, We’ll Dance ‘Til Dawn. The scenes capture the wise-cracking camaraderie of a cast of characters that includes trumpeter Kermit Ruffins. For Let Them Talk, Keith Spera and Jeremy Davenport discuss the behind-the-scenes reality of making a jazz album in the modern era.
3:00PM — Funkify Your Life – Electric bass master George Porter, Jr. laid down the super funky bass lines that helped form the foundation of the deep grooves created by legendary New Orleans band The Meters, whose innovative, irresistible and highly influential music remains a powerful force in the funk, jam band and hip-hop genres. George Porter, Jr. has gone on to become an award-winning bandleader with his Runnin’ Pardners and first-call sideman of international renown – and talks about these many aspects of his life in music with interviewer Fred Kasten.
4:00PM — Clyde Kerr, Sr. Award Winners Shirley Chatters Bloom and Jonathan Bloom – The Clyde Kerr, Sr. Award honors outstanding achievement in music education. This year’s award winners are Shirley
Chatters Bloom and her son, Jonathan Bloom. Shirley Chatters Bloom is a soon-to-be 91 year-old violinist and vocalist who sang with Paul Robeson and taught at the Grunewald School of Music with Clyde Kerr, Sr. Jonathan Bloom is a noted percussionist and a dedicated music educator in New Orleans for over three decades. For Let Them Talk, Jonathan and Shirley Chatters Bloom discuss their lives in music and music education with New Orleans historian Al Kennedy.
Sunday, April 15
1:00PM – In the Pocket with Johnny V. — Drummer and composer Johnny Vidacovich is a New Orleans rhythm master. From second line street beats to trad jazz cadences, contemporary jazz polyrhythms to big band swing, and hard-hitting funk to jam band explorations, Johnny Vidacovich has the rhythm covered – and music colored – in exciting and innovative ways. For Let Them Talk, Johnny V. discusses his life in music with interviewer Fred Kasten, and takes to the trap set to demonstrate some essential New Orleans rhythms.
2:00PM – Lionel Ferbos: on the Right Side of 100! – New Orleans trumpeter Lionel Ferbos celebrated his 100th birthday in July of 2011 and continues to charm listeners with his heartfelt singing and playing at regular appearances around the Crescent City. He also had a long career as an accomplished craftsman in the building trades and talks about his life and times with award-winning photographer and jazz historian John McCusker.
3:00PM — 21st Century Slidemen in a Tailgatin’ Town – The trombone has played a primary role in New Orleans jazz and brass band music for over a century. Outstanding contemporary trombonists Craig Klein, Delfeayo Marsalis, and Mark Mullins remain deeply informed and respectful of the New Orleans trombone tradition, even while spending considerable time pursuing different approaches to music. For Let Them Talk, the three discuss their lives as trombonists and the instrument’s evolving role in modern music. Interviewer Fred Kasten
4:00PM — Dynamic Duo: Meschiya Lake and Tom McDermott – Top-notch New Orleans pianist and composer Tom McDermott and rising-star jazz vocalist Meschiya Lake have won a lot of fans with their series of intimate but powerful duo performances in the last few years. For Let Them Talk Tom McDermott, also an accomplished journalist, interviews Meschiya Lake about her life in music. The session concludes with a 15 minute mini-concert of jazz and blues classics.
New this year!
Children’s Museum Activities and fun at the Hermann-Grima House
The education departments of some of New Orleans’ great museums (Longue Vue House and Gardens, Hermann-Grima House, Beauregard Keyes House, New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, and more) will host activity booths in the beautiful courtyard gardens of the Hermann-Grima House, located at 820 St. Louis Street – Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 6 p.m.
Children and adults alike can also enjoy the family friendly activates at the riverfront plaza near the Audubon Aquarium. The riverfront Children’s Headquarters is filled with fun educational activities, fun exercise offerings, and kid-friendly music and food.
To view the full schedule of Special Events or for more information about the Children’s Areas, click here or download the free app on your iPhone or Android courtesy of Capital One Bank and Applitite.