Springtime in New Orleans means crawfish, snoballs and (usually) a different festival every weekend. This year, not unlike the last, we won’t be festing just yet. But there is a silver lining: some of our favorite festivals are still happening in 2021 — they’ve just been rescheduled to later dates. In particular, October is gearing up to be a busy month for New Orleanians and visitors alike with back-to-back festivals all month. And while we’re ready to get back out there and celebrate ASAP, we won’t miss the unbearably hot weather typical of New Orleans’s spring festivals. Read on for a spotlight on our picks for the three most essential fall 2021 festivals in New Orleans: French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest and Voodoo Fest.
FRENCH QUARTER FEST (SEPT. 30-OCT. 3)
Globally known as the largest showcase of Louisiana music in the world, French Quarter Fest is an unbelievable tribute to the varied musical, cultural and culinary landscape of our state. Scattered throughout the French Quarter, the four-day festival is FREE and open to all ages, making it the perfect event for a post-Covid family reunion. With 1,700 musicians playing 400 hours of free music on 25 stages, French Quarter Fest is the largest free music event in the United States.
It wouldn’t be a Louisiana festival without food, and the options here are endless. Everywhere from Woldenberg Park to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, you’ll find food booths from the ‘Culinary Lineup’ of popular New Orleans restaurants.
Other than the free admission, our favorite part of French Quarter Fest is the location. How many cities have a multi-day festival that takes place right in the midst of their most famed neighborhood? The festival ‘grounds’ encompass landmarks like Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street, Preservation Hall and the French Market.
Revered among locals but underrated among tourists, French Quarter Fest is a great way to see New Orleans for what it really is — a city that overflows with music, food and culture everywhere you turn.
JAZZ FEST (OCT. 8 -17)
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is an internationally esteemed celebration of life. It goes beyond music, food, crafts and culture. It lives and breathes as its own entity, one that draws you in as soon as you step foot into the Fairgrounds. Seen as the blueprint for the modern-day music festival, Jazz Fest is undoubtedly one of the most influential things to ever come out of New Orleans.
As much about music as it is about food, the culinary options at Jazz Fest are unbeatable. Many locals wait all year for their Jazz Fest staples, such as crawfish beignets, cochon de lait po-boys, crawfish monica or mango freeze. You can spend all seven days eating your way through the fest’s two food areas and additional vendors, and you still wouldn’t be able to try it all.
With previous lineups consisting of huge names like Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder in addition to local favorites like Irma Thomas, The Revivalists, Big Freedia and Trombone Shorty, there’s no doubt that this year’s lineup will be one you won’t want to miss.
Even if you’ve heard of Jazz Fest before, there’s no way to understand it until you’re there. And with a notorious reputation of being unforgivingly hot, it’s the perfect year to experience the best parts of the fest without the sun, sweat and tears.
VOODOO FEST (OCT. 29-31)
Smaller than the other two festivals, Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is more similar to other big-name festivals across the country. Catering to a younger audience, you can always count on Voodoo Fest to book cutting-edge acts and host otherworldly interactive art installations.
Known for its Halloween weekend date, Voodoo heavily leans into the spookier side of things. With many festers decked out in costumes, the Halloween spirit is alive across the grounds. Taking place in one of the city’s most beautiful outdoor areas, City Park, the festival offers visitors a chance to experience a lesser-known side of New Orleans.
The music at Voodoo Fest represents almost all genres under the sun from EDM to jazz and everything in between. There’s something for everyone, and since it’s open to all ages, feel free to bring the family (especially if you’ve got a 10-year-old music snob).
We believe that everyone should experience Halloween at Voodoo Fest once in their lives, and there’s no better year than this year to do so.
If you’re interested in coming to New Orleans for any of the aforementioned festivals, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a uniquely tailored experience. We’ll plan it all for you, so all you have to do is enjoy your time. Contact us today for more information. We can’t wait to fest with you!