October in New Orleans Means the Return of a Slew of Music Festivals
With four major festivals including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival rescheduled for October, music-starved fans may just want to set up camp for the entire month to get their fill. In addition to Jazz Fest, French Quarter Festival, BUKU: Planet B, and Voodoo Music & Arts Experience all plan to hold events in October ,provided the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control and restrictions for large gatherings are lifted. Here’s a rundown of what to expect.
Presented by Chevron, French Quarter Festival will kick things off starting September 30 and run through October 3. Usually scheduled in April, the festival’s 37th incarnation was postponed until October 2020, only then to be canceled altogether due to the pandemic. In an abundance of caution, organizers pushed the event to fall of this year.
Begun in 1984 by nonprofit French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI), the free festival is the largest celebration of authentic Louisiana culture, food and music, which has grown from hundreds of participants to tens of thousands today. Emphasizing homegrown talent, the festival features local artisans, chefs, food vendors, and an annual lecture series aimed at educating attendees about Louisiana’s rich and storied culture. Louisiana music legends such as Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville. Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Ellis Marsalis and George Porter, Jr. have graced the festival’s many stages along with lesser-known, but no less culturally significant, artists like Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters, Amanda Shaw, Erica Falls, Mo’Fess, Mollie Pate and The LPO Horn Sound and hundreds more.
As in years past, French Quarter Festival will take place in multiple locations in the French Quarter, including along the Mississippi River riverfront and at Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint. Those holding tickets from 2020’s canceled event can use them for the festival’s new dates, donate the cost of the ticket to FQFI, or request a refund. For more information and how to purchase tickets, go to the festival’s website at https://frenchquarterfest.org.
After some speculation as to whether The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival would return to its traditional spring dates during the last weekend of April and the first weekend in May, event organizers announced this year’s festival would take place October 8-17. Exact dates will not be released until spring, according to a statement released by Jazz Fest organizers, with more details about ticketing, refund and exchanges to come.
“We are all ready to get together again and share that special spirit that lives at Jazz Fest” said Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis in the statement “It’s taking longer than we want, but we’ll have our celebration when the time comes. Your health, along with the health of our musicians, food and crafts vendors, and all of the folks that work to make the magic happen, remains the priority as we plan the return of Jazz Fest.” Read the full statement below.
One of the largest music festivals of its kind in the world, Jazz Fest was rescheduled for the fall of last year but then canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. The event draws hundreds of thousands of music fans from around the globe to partake in nearly two weeks of music, New Orleans culture, crafts and food. Founded in 1970, Jazz Fest encompasses much more than jazz and has hosted music legends from across the musical spectrum including Miles Davis, The Allman Brothers, Pete Fountain, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Irma Thomas, The Roots, The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, B.B. King, Diane Reeves, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt and many more. Even with all its star power, the festival has managed to keep its many stages filled primarily with Louisiana acts big and small including Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Galactic, Mia Borders, The Revivalists, Pine Leaf Boys, Rockin’ Dopsie & Zydeco Twisters, just to name a few.
The festival is slated to return to The New Orleans Fairgrounds, its traditional home. For more information go to the Jazz Fest website at https://www.nojazzfest.com and its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JazzFest/ for updates.
Although BUKU Music & Art Project is postponed until March 2022, fans can look forward to BUKU: Planet B, slated for October 22-23. An immersive, one-time-only, alternative take on BUKU, Planet B promises a fiery lineup and the same chill vibe and boutique capacity akin to the electronic music festival’s original days.
Normally scheduled for March, BUKU was postponed until Labor Day Weekend of last year, rescheduled for March 19-20 of this year, then canceled entirely due to the ongoing pandemic. Equal parts underground warehouse party, urban music festival, and interactive art installation, the two-day event describes itself as a celebration of the progressive subculture of New Orleans. Held on the grounds of Mardi Gras World, BUKU attracts thousands of electronic and hip hop music enthusiasts from around the world who come to partake of the genres’ luminaries such as Run The Jewels, Illenium, Flume, Glass Animals and Zeds Dead.
Festival organizers explained their decision to postpone BUKU and go with a smaller event this year in the statement below.
More details about BUKU: Planet B will trickle out in the coming days and throughout the spring. For more information, visit the event website at https://www.thebukuproject.com/planet-b/. To keep up to date on BUKU in 2022 and for information about ticket refunds click on https://www.thebukuproject.com or visit the festival’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thebukuproject.
In the city that screams Halloween, no festival is a more integral part of the celebration than Voodoo Music & Arts Festival. Held each year over Halloween weekend, the three-day festival was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the hopes that it would return for its normally scheduled time period October 29-31 this year.
Debuting in 1999, the festival takes place in New Orleans’ historic and enchanted City Park. The event has hosted huge stars from across musical genres such as Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Post Malone, Chance The Rapper, and Foo Fighters as well as local artists such as Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, The Revivalists, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Fans also take part in interactive art installations, a “haunted zone,” and carnival rides. Of course, local food vendors are on hand to provide delicious New Orleans cuisine as well as vendors selling arts and crafts.
More information regarding the lineup and other details will be forthcoming in the months to follow. Ticket holders from last year’s festival may use them for the 2021 event or request a refund. For more information, go to the Voodoo Fests website at https://www.voodoofestival.com and its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/voodooexperience for updates.
So here’s to thinking good thoughts that the COVID-19 pandemic will be brought under control by the fall and that music will return in force to New Orleans and around the world. With that in mind, it’s probably a good idea to start training now if you want to survive what New Orleans has in store for you in October!