Tough time picking which spring festival to attend? We get it. From legendary festivals like Jazz Fest to more local ones like Bayou Boogaloo, there’s a lot to choose from. And with amazing music lineups, delicious food vendors, and arts and culture featured at pretty much every fest, it can be overwhelming to narrow down your choices.
To help you sort through your seemingly endless options, we’ve created this go-to list of spring festivals for you. Visit New Orleans to check one (or more) out and be a part of the much anticipated spring festival season.
Wednesdays at the Square
March 20-May 22, 2019 (Wednesdays)
Wednesdays in most cities are just another weekday. But here in New Orleans, they’re basically a Friday, especially during festival season. Every week from March through May on Wednesdays, you can head to Lafayette Square for Wednesdays at the Square and jam to jazz, funk, pop, rock, and more (and grab refreshments and fest foods). The event is free.
Buku Music + Art Project
March 22-23, 2019
BUKU Music + Art Project is a weekend-long music festival that highlights EDM, hip-hop, and indie rock. Every year, this event takes place at Mardi Gras World along the New Orleans Riverfront, so you can check out different stages and enjoy stunning views at the same time. The 2019 lineup includes Lana Del Ray, Excision, Kevin Gates, A$AP Rocky and more! In addition to killer lineups every year, art installations and pop-up street artist performances are always present. Tickets start at $105, and you must be 17 or older to attend.
Tennessee Williams Literary Festival
March 27-31, 2019
Founded in 1986, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival is best known for its “Stella” shouting contest, where aspiring Stanley Kowalski imitators compete to best recreate the well-known scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. The unique spring festival also features master classes for aspiring writers, panels, live theater, special meal-centric literary celebrations, and educational walking tours in a historically literary city. Ticket prices vary.
Hogs for the Cause
March 29-30, 2019
Hogs for the Cause is a pork-centric festival and contest featuring almost 100 barbecue chefs competing various categories. The three day festival also includes over 20 bands. Watch a panel of judges taste test and tell fans which chef has the best ribs or best sauce. Proceeds from the festival benefit pediatric brain cancer, so you can eat your pork with a purpose. Ticket prices vary.
Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival
March 30-31, 2019
This family-friendly, two-day festival at the epicenter of Jazz music’s origins celebrates the African diaspora culture of New Orleans. Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival features beats and dance from Africa, the Caribbean, and the American Gulf South. Expect to see the stunning suits of Mardi Gras Indians, African dance troupes, a Soul Food Court, and tons of arts. This festival is extra special because of its historic location at Congo Square, the location where enslaved and free African people in New Orleans were permitted to gather on Sundays and continue their cultural traditions of drumming and dance. The festival is free.
New Orleans Wine + Food Experience
April 3-7, 2019
Whether you’re an experienced wine drinker or just an avid wine enthusiast, New Orleans Wine + Food Experience (NOWFE) is a can’t-miss fest. Wine and food lovers from around the country and world gather in New Orleans for seminars, tastings, intimate wine dinners, and other unique experiences. Pro tip: you definitely don’t want skip the Royal Street Stroll. Proceeds go to a variety of culinary nonprofits, from food banks to culinary schools. Fests for a cause? Count us in. Ticket prices vary.
Freret Street Festival
April 6, 2019
In recent years, Freret Street has become one of the most vibrant streets in the city, with tons of restaurants and businesses have popping up on the strip - so many that there are almost 30 restaurants in a few-block radius. Freret Street Fest celebrates that, and the vibrant small businesses and artisans who have made it that way. Now, with over 150 local vendors, live music stages, and food and drink vendors, the Freret Street Festival is one of the premiere neighborhood festivals in the city, and it’s free!
French Quarter Festival
April 11-14, 2019
French Quarter Festival is an annual celebration of the vibrant French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans. Featuring dozens of stages of local musicians and over 60 food and drink vendors, not to mention the gorgeous riverfront scenery and charming French Quarter streets to stroll - there’s no reason to miss this four-day-long event. The festival is free.
New Orleans Jazz + Heritage Festival
April 25-28 and May 2-5, 2019
Jazz Fest is famous for a reason – every year, the Fairgrounds transform into a music lover’s paradise, and this year is the 50th anniversary. With incredible food, drink, and craft vendors along with a variety of stages featuring world-famous headliners to local musicians, Jazz Fest truly appeals to everyone. Think the Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffet and Al Green paired with Crawfish Monica, Mango Freeze and the best of fest foods. Whether you spend the day enjoying the melodies in the Gospel Tent or head outside to check out the larger stages, you won’t want to miss this fest. Tickets start at $65 (Children ages 2-10 $5).
May 17-19, 2019
Spending time by bayou is a staple to the New Orleans experience, and there’s no better way to do it than at Bayou Boogaloo. Delicious food, arts and crafts tents, boat races, and live music will make your day hanging by the water one to remember. Hop on a kayak and with a pal and a local brew to make the experience unforgettable. The three day festival is free.
May 24-26, 2019
Handmade Greek cuisine like gyros and baklava accompanied by Greek wine? Count us in for a taste test. Try tons of authentic food and drink and purchase some from the Greek grocery to take home with you, too. Events at Greek Fest include Holy Trinity Cathedral tours (the oldest Greek Orthodox church in the Americas!), an Athenian kids playground next to the bayou that includes a climbing wall, canoes, and more, cooking demos, races, and Toga Sunday. Live Greek music is featured all days of the event. Insider’s hint for families: travel to town for this fest - it has the best of both words for kids and parents! Admission is $7 -- opa!
Tremé/7th Ward Arts and Culture Festival
May 25-27, 2019
Join locals and visitors alike in celebrating two of the most historic areas in the entire country: Tremé and neighboring 7th Ward. The locals of these neighborhoods honor their contributions to the entire United States and world at large during the Tremé/7th Ward Arts and Culture Festival with music, dance, food, art, architecture, and more. Events throughout the weekend-long festival feature a bar crawl, tours of historic sites, a Gospel breakfast, a second line. Ticket prices vary.