Tough time picking which spring festival to attend? We get it. From legendary festivals like Jazz Fest to more local ones like Bayou Boogaloo – and plenty of festival-adjacent events in between – there’s a lot to choose from. Not to mention, the amazing music lineups, delicious food vendors, and arts and culture featured at pretty much every fest can make it 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 and big events for you. Come down to New Orleans to check out one (or more) and be a part of the much-anticipated return of spring festivals.
March 9-13, 2023
Celebrate the artistry of French cinema at one of the country’s longest-running foreign film festivals. The New Orleans French Film Festival hosts screenings of classic and modern French films (all with English subtitles) at the historic Prytania Theater, one of the oldest single-screen movie theaters in Louisiana, along with live musical performances, lectures, parties, and more. If you can’t be there in person, you can also digitally attend the festival.
March 8-12, 2023
Inspired by and in honor of its legendary local namesake, the Danny Barker Banjo and Guitar Festival is a four-day program of citywide music performances, a variety of panel discussions and exclusive workshops, special outings and events, and more – all for a great cause. Along with some incredible musical performances, you’ll be helping to fund music and music history education programs for local high school and college students that keep the tradition of jazz music alive in New Orleans.
Every Wednesday from March 15-May 17, 2023
Wednesday at the Square, sponsored by the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans, presents a series of free outdoor concerts featuring well-known local artists. The weekly concert series highlights a variety of indigenous musical styles, including jazz, rock, funk, swamp-pop, Latin rhythms and more. New Orleans’ most famous brass bands are known to play at this annual concert series. Plus, admission is FREE and open to the public.
March 18, 2023
For the past decade, NOLA on Tap has remained Louisiana’s largest beer festival welcoming over 25,000 beer lovers to sample hundreds of local, national, and homebrewed beers. This fest benefits the Louisiana SPCA with proceeds support homeless animals. NOLA on Tap returns on March 18, 2023, in a new location: Lafreniere Park.
March 19, 2023
Super Sunday is not a festival, but it's certainly a spring outing that you won’t want to miss. Make your way to Central City to check out the stunning footwork, soul, culture, and customs that can only be found here in New Orleans.
Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
March 22-26, 2023
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 iconic scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. The unique spring festival also features masterclasses for aspiring writers, panels, live theater, special meal-centric literary celebrations, and educational walking tours in a historically literary city. That same weekend, be sure to check out the Saints + Sinners Literary Festival, an internationally-recognized event that unites LGBTQ+ publishers, writers, and readers from throughout the United States and beyond. Ticket prices vary.
Congo Square Rhythms/Treme Creole Gumbo Festival
March 25-26, 2023
Two of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation’s favorite festivals have combined to become one incredible weekend! The Congo Square Rhythms/Treme Creole Gumbo Festival is a free (yes, you heard us, free!) event that celebrates the traditions of New Orleans that stem from the African diaspora, including traditional African music and the modern styles that formed from it – jazz, funk, gospel, and more. Of course, there will be plenty of gumbo–including a gumbo cook-off–to honor one of New Orleans' most iconic (and delicious) dishes.
March 25, 2023
In recent years, Freret Street has become one of the most vibrant streets in the city, with tons of restaurants and businesses that have popped up on the strip. Freret Street Fest celebrates that, and the vibrant small businesses and artisans who have made it that way. Now, with over 200 local vendors, live music stages, and food and drink options, the Freret Street Festival is one of the premier neighborhood festivals in the city, and it’s free!
March 27-April 1, 2023
NOEW isn't a conference. Dubbed the Mardi Gras of entrepreneurship by USA Today, NOEW is a uniquely New Orleans festival experience designed to connect, educate, and inspire the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the Gulf South. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) 2023, sponsored by JPMorgan & Chase, is a 6-day entrepreneurial fest where startup founders, business leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs, industry experts, investors, and creatives come together to celebrate, learn, and network at the intersection of innovation and culture.
March 30 – April 2, 2023
Overlook Film Festival celebrates all things horror in America's most haunted city. Experience feature-length and short films from both experienced filmmakers and emerging artists this March 30 – April 2. More details will be announced soon.
Hogs for the Cause
March 31 – April 1, 2023
Hogs for the Cause is a pork-centric festival and contest featuring almost 100 barbecue chefs competing for various categories. The two-day festival also includes more than 20 musical acts. 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.
French Quarter Festival
April 13-16, 2023
French Quarter Festival is an annual celebration of the vibrant French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans. With dozens of stages featuring 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.
April 17-23, 2023
The PGA’s star golfers head to the bayou for the annual Zurich Classic Tournament. Enjoy a week of food, drinks, and of course, some world-class golfing at TPC Louisiana in nearby Avondale, all in support of the tournament’s host organization, the Fore!Kids Foundation. Tickets start at $40 for a single day and packages range in price for groups and special amenities.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
April 28 - May 30 and May 4 - 7, 2023
Jazz Fest is famous for a reason – every year, the Fairgrounds transform into a music lover’s paradise. With incredible food, drink, and craft vendors along with a variety of stages featuring everything from world-famous headliners to local musicians, Jazz Fest truly appeals to everyone. This year’s headliners include Dead & Company, Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Santana, Jon Batiste, Jill Scott, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, H.E.R., Steve Miller Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gary Clark Jr., Leon Bridges, Ludacris, and more. 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 $80 when purchased in advance (up until April 28) and then go up to $90 at the gate. Children ages 2-10 get in for $5 with an accompanying adult. Weekend packages and VIP experiences are also available–see the full ticketing breakdown here.
Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo
May 19-21, 2023
Spending time by the bayou is a classic 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 with a pal and a local brew to make the experience unforgettable. The three day festival is free.
New Orleans Food Fight
May 25, 2023
Hosted by the team behind Top Taco and presented by Stella Artois, the New Orleans Food Fight is an all-inclusive food and cocktail competition benefitting the PLEASE Foundation, which provides mentorship, leadership, and scholarships to at-risk youth in New Orleans. This one-night-only event will feature a food and cocktail tasting along with the competition all at Spanish Plaza at the Riverwalk Outlets. Treat yourself to a night of food, drinks, and fun!