We’re giving away a pair of tickets to see Umphrey’s McGee at the Civic Theater on April 17. The band, which formed 16 years ago in South Bend, Indiana, is touring in support of their new album “Similar Skin.”
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A record year–in spades–for this year’s French Quarter Festival: the 31st annual French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron attendance figures, as reported by organizers, indicate that nearly 733,000 festival-goers enjoyed the music, food, special events and the historic French Quarter.
This is over a 30 percent increase over 2013, when approximately 560,000 fans attended the event, and well over attendance at previous French Quarter Fest events.
Attendance numbers are calculated based on actual counts (that are adjusted down by percentage to account for repeat entrances and exits). Fess, Inc. Security counts at entry and exit points of major stages.
This number does not include attendance at the festival’s Royal, Bourbon, Chartres, Decatur and French Market stages, Battle of the Bands, Dancing at Dusk, Cathedral Concert, and other special events.
Rouses had record sales at French Quarter Festival 2014, selling over 40,000 pounds of boiled crawfish and over 5,000 servings of their Crawfish Boil Boudin. Beers sales were also up:festival sponsor Abita Beer reported 905 kegs (up from 632 in 2013) and over 800 cases of beer. Progressive Waste Solutions reported 210 tons of garbage from the festival grounds this year, and Pelican Ice delivered 236,160 pounds of ice– up from 200,000 pounds in 2013.
French Quarter Fest–without a doubt–has proven itself to be a mover and shaker in New Orleans spring festival arena.
Catch photos by OffBeat’s Stephen Maloney from this year’s festival here.
This year’s French Quarter Fest has been an incredible success, with enormous crowds and absolutely perfect weather.
With hundreds of performers spread across dozens of stages, there has been something for everyone since the first shows on Thursday afternoon.
These pictures from Saturday, April 12 show just a hint of the action.
Chris Mulé and the Perpetrators put on a great show on the Esplanade in the Shade stage, Andrew Duhon reunited with Miles Weeks and Maxwell Zandy at the BMI Songwriter Stage, there was a (successful) marriage proposal in front of the Chevron Cajun/Zydeco stage, and brass band Magnetic Ear played amazing versions of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Nina’s “99 Luftballons.”
All photos by Stephen Maloney.
French Quarter Fest volunteer Stu Barash has worn many hats within the festival’s organizational ranks over the years.
Barash currently serves on the board of French Quarter Festivals Inc., and he served as the organization’s fifth president in 1988. But that has never stopped him from getting his hands dirty.
“It’s a working board,” he said. “You can’t just say ‘oh, I’m a board member’ and get all the glory of being on the board. You work.”
The festival has a system of quality controls that require each board member to try their hand at every different job – from cleanup duty to overseeing VIP rooms for donors and special guests.
“Wherever they need us to fill in, we’ll do that,” Barash said. “There are almost 2,000 volunteers that sign up to do this every year, including the board. They give us the opportunity of picking our spots first.”
That idea of working hard to maintain quality has been a driving factor for Barash in the year and a half since he returned to New Orleans and the board after having been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
“Our goal is to make this the best festival,” he said. “I think we’re as big as we’re going to be, so now it’s a matter of getting it to where everybody is as comfortable as possible.”
Out of the many roles he has filled throughout the years, Barash said one stands out as the most enjoyable.
“I love pouring beer, because you really get to talk to the people,” he said. “But we can’t drink it. That’s the only downside.”
- The Tags:
- French Quarter Festival
Belmont, California, residents John and Marie Morris know exactly what to do as soon as they land in New Orleans for French Quarter Festival.
“The first thing we do when we get out here is go to Walgreens and buy two chairs,” John Morris said. “And then when we’re done, we just give them away and head home.”
Marie Morris said they have made the trip to New Orleans for French Quarter Fest about 10 times in the last 20 years, sometimes bringing friends, but always staying at hotels in the French Quarter. And it all began almost by accident.
“We came one year a week after the fest, and there were still brochures out about it,” Marie Morris said. “We were talking to one of the band members at Fritzel’s, who was saying we really needed to come down for the fest, so the next year we did.”
John and Marie become fixtures at Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub on Bourbon Street every time they are in town, and they said they have developed favorites among the hundreds of musicians that perform every year.
John Morris said they were able to get up close to the stage when Amanda Shaw played a jazz festival in San Jose about 10 years ago, and they had a great conversation about New Orleans and French Quarter Fest.
The best and most memorable French Quarter Fest was the first year they returned after Hurricane Katrina struck, John Morris said.
“Post Katrina we came, and we were debating whether or not it was appropriate to come,” he said. “But the artists were very glad that we came, so that made us feel good. There really weren’t that many people out that year, but it’s been growing exponentially.”
Marie Morris said she always tries to sample as much local cuisine as possible during their time in New Orleans to support as many restaurants as possible, but that’s not the only perk to being in New Orleans.
“When they say we should support local businesses, I feel really good about buying Abita beer,” John Morris said.
The French Quarter Fest got off to a great start this morning with the annual second line parade down Bourbon Street and into Jackson Square.
Brass bands, marching groups, second line dancers, and an assortment of colorful French Quarter characters all helped officially kick off French Quarter Fest 2014 in grand style.
Hundreds of tourists and locals lined both sides of Bourbon for the length of the parade route, dancing in the streets and catching Mardi Gras Beads. Check out some pictures from the parade.
All photos by Stephen Maloney.
French Quarter Fest 2014 certainly got off to a great start. The Thursday crowds were huge and enthusiastic, and the performances were great.
The weather couldn’t have been any better, helping everyone get into the festival spirit almost instantly. If this start is any indication, this year’s French Quarter Fest will be one to remember.
We have a pair of tickets to see Jack White at the Saenger Theatre on June 3. White will perform with special guest Kelley Stoltz in support of his new album, Lazaretto, set to be released on June 10.
Fill out the form to enter for your chance to win! Contest ends April 18.
THURSDAY, APRIL 10
- Chickie Wah Wah: Arsene DeLay and Matt Clark (JV) 11p
- Hi-Ho Lounge: Helen Gillet and Plum Magnetic (MJ) 8p
- Howlin’ Wolf: the Lox (HH) 10p
- Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Corey Ledet (ZY) 8:30p
- Snug Harbor: Thais Clark CD-release party (MJ) 8 & 10p
FRIDAY, APRIL 11
- Chickie Wah Wah: Paul Sanchez and Minimum Rage feat. Sonia Tetlow and Mary Lasseigne (SS) 8p
- Maple Leaf: Raw Oyster Cult (RK) 10:30p
- New Orleans Arena (Smoothie King Center): Kings of Leon (ID) 8p
- Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Tab Benoit (BL) 9p
- Tipitina’s: Lost Bayou Ramblers, Feufollet (KJ) 10p
SATURDAY, APRIL 12
- Blue Nile: Brass-A-Holics (FK) 11p
- Chickie Wah Wah: the Mercy Brothers (GS) 9p
- d.b.a.: John Boutte (JV) 8p, Eric Lindell (BL) 11p
- Gasa Gasa: Andrew Duhon (SS) 9p
- House of Blues: Better Than Ezra, Matt Nathanson, JT Hodges (RK) 5:30p
- Maple Leaf: Corey Henry and Treme Funktet (FK) 10:30p
Better Than Ezra at the House of Blues.
SUNDAY, APRIL 13
- Maple Leaf: Joe Krown Trio feat. Russell Batiste and Walter “Wolfman” Washington (FK) 10p
- One Eyed Jacks: Meschiya Lake (JV) 10p
- Snug Harbor: Evan Christopher and Clarinet Road (MJ) 8 & 10p
MONDAY, APRIL 14
- Little Gem Saloon: Evan Christopher’s 6th Annual International Jam Session (JV) 7p
- Maple Leaf: George Porter Jr. and friends (FK) 10p
- Three Muses: Joe Cabral (JV) 7p
TUESDAY, APRIL 15
- d.b.a.: Treme Brass Band (BB) 9p
- Dmac’s: Chip Wilson (SS) 7p
- Louisiana Music Factory: Smoking Time Jazz Club (JV) 6p
- Maple Leaf: Rebirth Brass Band (FK) 10:30p
- Snug Harbor: Phillip Manuel’s Nat King Cole Birthday Tribute (MJ) 8 & 10p
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16
- Kermit’s Mother-in-Law Lounge: Kid Merv (JV) 7p
- Little Gem Saloon: Joshua Paxton (JV) 5p, Glen David Andrews (JV) 8p
- Maple Leaf: Maple Leaf Tribute Series feat. Eric Vogel, Andrew Block, Raymond Weber, Naughty Professor Horns and special guests performing Stuff and the Meters (FK) 10p
- Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Johnny J. and the Hitmen, Derek Huston (SI) 8p
- Sandbar at UNO: Craig Klein (JV) 7p
A new documentary focusing on Mardi Gras Indian traditions is set to premiere on April 12 at the National WWII Museum’s Solomon Victory Theater, with proceeds going to the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association.
The movie, “We Won’t Bow Down,” was shot entirely in New Orleans over an eight year period by first time director Christopher Levoy Bower.
Bower, an Asheville, North Carolina native, was initially drawn to Indian culture by photographer and “We Won’t Bow Down” co producer Steve Mann’s pictures.
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and scattered the close knit Mardi Gras Indian community, Bower began making conducting interviews for what would eventually become the 90 minute documentary.
On the first St. Joseph’s Day celebrations after Katrina, Bower saw the power and resilience of Mardi Gras Indian tribes up close.
“The first Indian I ever saw was Victor Harris of the Spirit of Fi-Yi-Yi, and he was singing a prayer called ‘calling all my people,’ and he was calling all his people home,” he said. “It just literally gave me chills. You could feel the spirit in the air. There must have been 50 people surrounding him, chanting. It’s just something I couldn’t let go.”
From the beginning, it was essential to capture the culture straight from the mouths of the Indians, Bower said. That meant no narration and no outside experts stepping in to explain.
“It was very important for me to let the Indians tell their history,” he said. “It’s definitely not the most intellectual approach to it, but I felt like it really resonated with the history of the culture. It’s a living culture, and that is so important because it’s always moving. A lot of the work that has been done about Indians has been done about past generations, and I want to capture that but also have this new generation that’s forming the new traditions.”
Audiences nationwide have been captivated by the movie. Bower said the world premier at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles drew an enthusiastic response – even from people outside the theater.
“We took some of the guys from the Ninth Ward Hunters and the Comanche Hunters to perform at the premier,” he said. “They did a procession through the Crenshaw Mall, and to just release that on people randomly and to see the response, that was amazing. People were coming from the parking garage, the balconies, little kids were dancing. There was a connection there that defies intellectual understanding. It was just in the spirit of what was happening.”
Monica Cooper, president and CEO of Los Angeles based film and television production company Make It Happen Entertainment, served as executive producer on “We Won’t Bow Down.” She said actor and community activist Wendell Pierce was also an instant convert.
“Wendell Pierce saw the screening in Los Angeles, and basically contacted us and said ‘I want to make sure the folks in New Orleans see this,’ and he’s championed the movie ever since,” Cooper said. “He saw that it was important enough to get behind, and we’re definitely very appreciative of that.”
Pierce’s Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association will be involved in the April 12 New Orleans premier at the National WWII Museum, an event that was originally scheduled for April 13 but had to be moved up one day to accommodate Pierce’s busy filming schedule.
“We want the folks that are walking around at the French Quarter Festival to come out to see the film,” Cooper said. “We are going to have people walking around handing out fliers. We’d hate for people to be late! We want everyone to know it’s happening on April 12!”
We Won’t Bow Down Premier
National WWII Museum
Solomon Victory Theater
Saturday, April 12
Red Carpet Screening 7: 15 p.m.
General Screening 9:15 p.m.