French Quarter Festival and Satchmo SummerFest will get big tune-up this year thanks in large part to a new partnership with Chevron oil giant, a title sponsorship announced this morning at the French Quarter Festivals, Inc press conference. FQFI is the local company that produces French Quarter Festival and the Louis Armstrong tribute festival, Satchmo SummerFest, and the annual Christmas New Orleans Style month-long event in December.
Each year, the French Quarter Festival releases the complete festival line-up and unveils its new poster art at this press conference, but this year, there was bigger news. In addition to several new program treats (literally and figuratively), and a showcase of the new collectible posters (three in all) is the added value of a deepened relationship between one of the region’s largest employers and the people that make New Orleans the magical place that it is. This comes by way of Chevron’s commitment as title sponsor for the next several years. This is the first time The French Quarter Fest has ever announced a title sponsor. It will now be known officially as French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron.
The year 2013 marks the 30th Anniversary of French Quarter Festival, a special birthday for what was a small festival that started in 1984 as a way to lure locals back to the Quarter. As vital as this annual staple is to the city’s inherent culture has become, the question of whether or not a long-term corporate sponsorship of this caliber will change the nature and content of French Quarter Fest and Satchmo SummerFest’s authenticity or accessibility to everyone.
To this, Marci Schramm, Executive Director of FQFI says that “probably the hardest thing about producing large-scale, high-quality events – that are free and open to the public – is paying for them.” In this light, sponsors like Chevron help to keep events like French Quarter Festival and Satchmo SummerFest true community events – by keeping them free to the public.
Though Chevron is not brand-new to FQF (they have sponsored various FQF activities in years past), “the [multi-year] investment is part of Chevron’s [broader] commitment to the arts, which we believe inspires people, celebrates diversity, stimulates economic growth and fuels [pun intended?] the social vitality of the community our thousands of employees call home,” stated Chevron Vice President of the Gulf of Mexico Unit, Warner Williams.
Already it seems we are seeing a bigger French Quarter Fest this year with its 2013 music line-up featuring over 1,400 artists on 21 stages and over 60 local food vendors over the course of the now four-day festival. For example, FQF is bringing back the “Chevron Evening Concert Series” with traditional Second Line parades leading up to each evening concert. Music roster highlights this year include: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet, Donald Harrison Jr, Delfeayo Marsalis & The Uptown Jazz Orchestra, Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns, Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and many more.
New restaurants joining the marketplace this year will be Restaurant R’evolution, Schiro’s and Dreamy Weanies, while long-time local beer sponsor, Abita Brewery, will be pouring its signature seasonal Strawberry Brew for the first time on site. And that’s all before we we even get to the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch” – one of FQF’s most famous activities.
Other expanded programming thanks to Chevron and major sponsors like Capital One Bank will offer free dance classes from local heroes such as Dancin’ Man 504, as well as free park-n-ride shuttle buses to, from and around the French Quarter, Treme and Central Business District areas.
Get your festival kit ready — this year’s gonna be a big one!
FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL 2013
April 11 – 14
Click here for full line-up & program schedule.
FREE and Open to the Public | All Ages