14 Facts About New Orleans French Quarter Fest

What Is French Quarter Fest?

The New Orleans French Quarter Fest is one of three annual festivals produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI). The other two are the Satchmo Summerfest in early August and Holidays New Orleans Style, which typically begins in early November and ends on January 6th.


French Quarter Fest is a four-day festival in April that showcases the incredible food, music, and culture of New Orleans throughout the historic French Quarter. The event gives people an opportunity to enjoy over 1,700 fantastic musicians for free and taste cuisine from some of the city’s top restaurants.

14 Things To Know About the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans

If you plan to check out the French Quarter Fest, you’re in for a real treat. Here are some fun and helpful tips to get you ready to revel.

Festival Facts To Help You Plan

  • The fest kicks off with a parade. The parade typically begins in the 200 block of Bourbon Street, turns on St. Ann Street, then heads to the opening ceremony in Jackson Square.

  • You’re not supposed to bring coolers or ice chests into the main areas of the festivals. Since the overall event is free, they rely heavily on beverage, food, and merchandise sales to keep the fest alive.

  • Pets aren’t allowed at the fest (except for service animals).

  • There’s a French Quarter Festival app to make getting around the fest and planning your time a breeze.

  • French Quarter Fest is held the second full weekend in April unless it’s Easter. Easter in New Orleans is another huge celebration, so if it falls during that second weekend, the festival bumps to the third full weekend in April.

  • There are VIP experiences available which include perks like free beverages, access to the front of the stage, and hospitality lounges.

  • French Quarter Fest is a family-friendly event, with several sponsors hosting kid-centered exhibits featuring things like STEM activities, animal education, and games.

A Few Fun Facts

  • Some of the fest stages feature free dance lessons for the public. Professional dancers teach things like the 1920’s Charleston, Zydeco, swing dancing, traditional jazz, and Cajun jitterbug.

  • The first French Quarter Fest was in 1984 following the World’s Fair. 

  • The festival relies on the efforts of over 1,500 volunteers to make it happen.

  • Locals have often voted the fest as the best fest for food and the best public event.

  • Over 60 restaurants participate in the Culinary Line-up where people can taste some of their most popular dishes.

  • In 2023 (the fest’s 40th anniversary), almost 875,000 people attended the festival. To put things in perspective, the famous Jazz and Heritage Festival had about 460,000 people attend that same year.

  • The festival only allows vendors to use compostable, recyclable, and reusable food and drink products in an initiative to keep the event environmentally friendly.

French Quarter Fest Fun

Are you ready to see, hear, and taste the magic of New Orleans at the annual French Quarter Fest? Grab some exclusive FQF swag, like hats, koozies, shirts, stickers, magnets, and fanny packs, and head to the Vieux Carré. Book a comfy NOLA hotel room so you have a cozy and convenient place to relax and refresh in between your festival fun.