French Quarter Festival Breaks Records, Announces Line-Up
NEW ORLEANS – More stages, a bigger footprint, celebrity talent, new sponsors and a quarter billion in economic impact were all celebrated at the French Quarter Festivals, Inc., press conference on Thursday announcing the 32nd Annual French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron will take place April 9 – April 12, 2015.
Locals and tourism officials call French Quarter Festival “the kickoff to festival season in New Orleans.” What started as a neighborhood festival and “locals' event” has grown into the largest showcase of Louisiana music and food in the world, with an economic impact of more than $251 million, attracting more than 700,000 attendees in 2014.
Last year, The Huffington Post named FQF the “one thing to do in Louisiana.”
In 2015, organizers will host some of New Orleans’ finest restaurants at “The World's Largest Jazz Brunch,” employ more than 1,400 world class, local musicians and immerse festival-goers into a unique cultural experience that cannot be replicated anywhere.
FQF is produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., (FQFI) the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which also produces Satchmo SummerFest in August and Christmas New Orleans Style in December.
It was announced that Allen Toussaint, one of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B, will perform on the riverfront Abita Stage on Locals' Day, Thursday, April 9, at 3:45 p.m. In what promises to be an incredible day of music, Toussaint will perform after the Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band and before the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra with very special guests.
Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011. The celebrated songwriter, record producer and musician returns to FQF for the first time since 1998.
Since 1984, FQF has been committed to featuring New Orleans' finest artists every day of the festival, on stages all over the French Quarter. The tradition grows in 2015, when FQFI unveils two new stages and expands its footprint and musical lineup. The new Spanish Plaza stage sponsored by The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk and Harrah's New Orleans will take the music across Canal Street with three days of programming. The new Omni Royal Orleans stage located at 500 Royal St. will bring more traditional jazz to the street with performances on Saturday and Sunday.
Launched in 2014, the GE Capital Big River Stage returns with four days of music. On Thursday, April 9, former Dr. John percussionist Big Chief Smiley Ricks and One Nation brings Mardi Gras Indian Funk to the stage, followed by Andrews family trumpeter Travis Hill's Travis Black and the Heart Attacks. Other Big River Stage artists include Spirit of New Orleans Brass Band, Lynn Drury Band, Fredy Omar con su Banda, Paul Sanchez, Revealers, Brass-A-Holics, Flow Tribe and Glen David Andrews.
Popeyes Brass Band Jam will return to the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint. Three full days of music bring performances from Audacity Brass Band, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Leroy Jones' Original Hurricane Brass Band, The Original Pinettes Brass Band, Onward Brass Band, Storyville Stompers Brass Band, Stooges Brass Band, Red Wolf Brass Band, Treme Brass Band, Magnetic Ear and many more.
The Chevron Cajun Zydeco Showcase launched in 2013 at the Bienville Triangle (North Peters near St. Louis Street) and has since become one of the festival's most popular stages. In 2015, "King of Cajun" Jo-el Sonnier, a four-time Grammy nominee, Travis Matte and the Kingpins -a band that packs Louisiana dance halls with their infectious blend of zydeco, hip hop and rock, and Chris Ardoin make their festival debuts. Other artists include: Jimmy Thibodeaux, Waylon Thibodeaux Band, Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, Roddy Romero and the Hub City All Stars, Lost Bayou Ramblers and Amanda Shaw.
FQF organizers welcome more than a dozen new acts to the 2015 line-up. The Speakeasy Quartet and NOLA Jitterbugs will turn Jackson Square into a swing-dance party during their high-energy "watch and learn" performance on Thursday, April 9, on the Capital One Bank Jackson Square Stage. Other debuts include Doug Kershaw (playing with Steve Riley), The Honorable South, Guitar Slim, Jr., The Write Brothers, Los Otras, New Orleans Swamp Donkeys and many more.
In addition to festival debuts, FQF supports budding artists. It's where some of the region's most beloved and famous musicians such as Trombone Shorty, Hunter Hayes, Imagination Movers, and Kermit Ruffins first played to large audiences. Continuing the spirit of promoting new talent, the 2015 event welcomes several young artists including The Doghill Stompers, grandsons of Boozoo Chavis, one of the founding fathers of Zydeco, Jenard Andrews’ (son of trumpeter James Andrews and the cousin of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews) New Breed Brass Band performs on the Popeyes Brass Band Jam at the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint and Neshia Ruffins, daughter of Kermit Ruffins, makes her festival debut with Neshia Ruffins & the Young Franchise Band, also at the Old U.S. Mint.
FQF organizers remain committed to growing the Musician Sponsorship Program where every dollar donated to the fund goes directly to the artists. In 2014, a total of more than 250 individuals, foundations and businesses signed up to support local musicians by “adopting an artist.” Sponsors come from all over the United States – from California to Maryland – and are helping to keep FQF free for the community.
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) will have an unprecedented residency at FQF celebrating the opening of their new home, the New Orleans Jazz Market, on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The residency will consist of four concerts during the 2015 FQF. Each performance will feature a completely different music program and guest artists backed up by NOJO under the direction of Irvin Mayfield: Thursday, April 9, Irvin Mayfield and NOJO featuring the music of Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and The Grateful Dead; Friday, April 10, Irvin Mayfield and NOJO featuring the music of Led Zepplin, Nirvana and Queen; Saturday, April 11, Irvin Mayfield and NOJO perform children’s songs and interact with young audiences; Sunday, April 12, The New Orleans Songbook: Featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield and NOJO.
The French Quarter Festival Kermit Ruffins Experience will give one lucky winner the chance to party with Kermit before and during the festival. Each year, sponsor Harrelson Trumpets builds and donates a one-of-a-kind Satchmo Trumpet. The 2015 Satchmo Trumpet will be presented to longtime festival friend and artist Kermit Ruffins during his Sunday, April 12, FQF set. The raffle winner will have lunch with Kermit, Jason Harrelson (founder, Harrelson Trumpets), and a friend at Kermit's Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge, ride in a limo to the festival, sit on stage with three friends and complimentary refreshments during Kermit's set, receive a framed, autographed photo of Kermit, Jason, the Satchmo Trumpet, and themselves on stage at FQF and take home an autographed copy of Kermit's CD releases, We Partyin' Traditional Style and #ImSoNewOrleans.
Raffle chances are one ticket for $20 and two tickets for $30 and can be purchased at www.fqfi.org. All proceeds will benefit the non-profit FQFI.
On Thursday, April 9, the French Quarter Festival Opening Night Gala benefiting the Roots of Music will return to Antoine's Restaurant. Established in 1840, Antoine's, the country's oldest family-run restaurant, celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2015. During the Gala, guests will enjoy the original Main Dining Room, the Mardi Gras-themed Rex, Proteus, and 12th Night Revelers rooms, the Mystery Room, 1840 Room, the Last Room (or Tabasco Room) and the Wine Cellar, which holds approximately 25,000 bottles when fully stocked. FQF is the only time of the year when Antoine's allows a non-profit community organization to “take over,” celebrating the opening of FQF at this grand Gala event.
Guests will enjoy tastings by Antoine's and an open bar courtesy of Abita Brewing Company and Brown-Forman/Republic Beverages. The Patron Party takes place from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and the Gala from 8:00 p.m. – 10:30 pm. Guitarist John Rankin and Charmaine Neville will entertain. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at www.fqfi.org. Patron tickets are $250 and Gala tickets are $125 ($150 beginning April 1).
This year, a limited number of tables will be available for purchase.
In a city famous for its wealth of delicious and unique traditional food, FQF gives attendees a taste of the best of the best at the “The World's Largest Jazz Brunch.” More than 60 vendors feature classic New Orleans dishes as well as cuisine from the finest restaurants in the region. A number of restaurants have been with the festival since its beginning in 1984, and have been great partners for 30 years including Pat O'Brien's, Trey Yuen, Tujague's, Vaucresson Sausage, Desire Oyster Bar and Court of Two Sisters. Other festival favorites return for 2015, including Galatoire's, Muriel's, Antoine's, Praline Connection, Dickie Brennan's, Restaurant R'evolution, Bennachin, Love at First Bite, GW Fins, House of Blues, Jacques-Imo's, K-Paul's, Mrs. Wheat's, Lasyone's Meat Pies, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Three Muses and more.
A full list of restaurants, including new vendors for 2015, will be released in March.
The French Quarter Festival Second-Line Kickoff Parade will take place Thursday, April 9, at 10:00 a.m., a change from prior years when the parade rolled on Friday. The parade departs from the 100 block of Bourbon St. and makes its way to Jackson Square.
Conversations about Louisiana Music will return to FQF with presentations and performances at the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint, 3rd Floor Auditorium on Saturday, April 11, and Sunday, April 12, at the festival. This series is free and open to the public and the schedule will be announced in March.
The Film Fest at FQF presented by Timecode: NOLA will return to Le Petit Theatre and expand to three days. The schedule will be announced in March.
Dance Lessons, Battle of the Bands, Dancing at Dusk, Rouses World Championship Crawfish Eating Contest, Pirates Alley Juried Art Show, St. Louis Cathedral Spring Concert, Opera at Dusk, and two children's areas, including Chevron Children's Headquarters STEAM ZONE, are beloved special events that all are part of the 2015 FQF.
FQFI provides high-quality events at no cost, accessible to all. In order to keep the festival free and open to the public, the organization relies heavily on the contributions of sponsors and partners, beverage and merchandise sales, and vendor fees. Festival organizers welcome the return of Chevron as Title Sponsor of both FQF and Satchmo SummerFest. Capital One Bank returns as a Major Sponsor of FQF.
FQFI also welcomes new sponsors Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, the Official Hotel of FQF and Satchmo SummerFest, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, Brown-Forman which includes great brands such as Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Herradura, Finlandia and Sonoma Cutrer, KREWE du optic, Cupcake Vineyards, Renaissance Publishing, JS108Atlanta.com Jazz Radio, WYLD 98.5, Power 102.9, Old School 106.7, NASH FM 92.3 and 106.1 The Ticket.
In partnership with GE Capital, the FQF iPhone App is back, along with the Android App – and they are still both FREE, courtesy of GE Capital. Fans can receive up to the minute announcements, downloadable music schedules, complete menus, special events, merchandise updates, shuttle information and unique offers to enhance their festival experience. The application will be available for download in March.
“Chevron is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this year's French Quarter Festival – an event that embodies the cultural diversity and economic growth that serve as the foundation of Greater New Orleans,” Sakari Morrison, General Manager Public Affairs, Chevron Gulf of Mexico, said. “We look forward to playing a role in this year's event as part of our longstanding commitment to all the communities in which we live and work.”
“Capital One Bank is pleased to continue its longtime support of this great local festival, which offers world-class music and food and provides a significant and positive economic impact to our city, region and state,” Capital One Bank Southeast Louisiana Market President Steve Hemperley said. “At Capital One Bank, we are committed to investing for good in greater New Orleans, and by supporting the French Quarter Festival, we're helping our local economy.”
Returning sponsors include: Abita Brewing Company, BMI, Crystal Clear Imaging, Dickie Brennan and Company, DownBeat Magazine, French Market Corporation, Caesar's Foundation, Hermann Grima House, The Historic New Orleans Collection, House of Blues, Inthenola.com, I.T.S. Fire Alarm Security, LLC, Louisiana Cookin', LA Lottery, Musician's Performance Fund, New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Original Daiquiris, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, NOLA.com/Times-Picayune, NOLA Defender, NOLA Jitterbugs, OffBeat Magazine, Palm Court Jazz Cafe, Pat O'Brien's, Pelican Ice, Pepsi, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Rentech Solutions, Republic National Distributing, Rolland Safe and Lock, Rouses Market, Steinway and Sons, Tropical Isle, Tulane Medical Center, Tulane Hospital for Children, The Vinyl District, Where Magazine, Windsor Court Hotel, WWOZ, WWL-TV, WWNO 89.9 FM and WRNO 99.5.
FQFI also unveiled the 2015 FQF posters by artists Tami Curtis and Simon Hardeveld.
Each year, the festival's Merchandise Committee selects a painting that portrays the colorful, festive, atmosphere of FQF and one that both locals and tourists will identify with. Consideration is given only to local artists.
For her 2015 poster, renowned local mixed-media artist, Tami Curtis, draws inspiration from New Orleans musical icon Little Freddie King. The musician's spirit and larger-than-life persona is captured through Tami's use of vibrant color and spontaneous brush stroke techniques.
Little Freddie King hails from McComb, MS, and has a musical career that spans the decades. In the 60's Freddie played with the likes of Babe Stoval, Polka Dot Slim, Guitar Grady, Guitar Ray, Snooks Eaglin, Billy Tate, Harmonica Williams, Boogie Bill Webb, Rev Charles Jacobs (his cousin), Harmonica Slim and Eddie Lang. His 1970 recording, Harmonica Williams and Little Freddie King, is believed to be the first electric blues album recorded in New Orleans. Now into his 70's, Little Freddie has yet to slow down. Since 2000 he has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, FQF, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Blues Festival as well as nearly a dozen European festivals.
FQF will also feature a special limited-edition poster created by New Orleans' most well-known French folk-art painter, Simon Hardeveld. Since the early 2000s, Hardeveld has entertained many with his hilarious and colorful paintings that hang around New Orleans restaurants including Boulangerie, Chickie Wah Wah, Lola's and Joey K's. Born in France and later moving to the United States to start three of his own restaurants, with wife Maria Hardeveld, Simon found his true calling as a painter at his brasserie in Metairie when customers always wanted to buy his signs behind the counter. Most well-known for his set design work on New Orleans evening news, WGNO News with a Twist, Simon has been commissioned by restaurants, stores, locals and tourists to create special original paintings for anniversaries, birthdays or just home décor that captures the spirit of New Orleans.
For the 2014 Satchmo SummerFest, FQFI partnered with Fleurty Girl to create custom-designed, festival-inspired shirts. The partnership continues in 2015 with the Kermit Ruffins unisex tee, which will sell for $25. The shirts will be available at the festival, Fleurty Girl stores and on the FQFI website. All proceeds help fund the free, community event.
A full FQF musical schedule will be released in March, but as of Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, the line-up includes:
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Benny Grunch and the Bunch
Big Chief Smiley Ricks and the One Nation Band*
Blues Masters featuring "Big Al" Carson
Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe
Doug Kershaw and Steve Riley
George Porter Jr. & Runnin' Pardners
Irvin Mayfield and NOJO: the music of Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead
The Joe Krown Trio with Walter "Wolfman" Washington & Russell Batiste Jr.
Orleans Brass Band
Panorama Jazz Band
Partners N Crime & The Big Easy Band featuring DJ Jubilee*
Rebirth Brass Band
The Speakeasy Quartet and the NOLA Jitterbugs*
Travis Black and the Heart Attacks*
Travis Matte and the Kingpins*
Friday, April 10, 2015
Audacity Brass Band
Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses
Bag of Donuts
Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band
Connie Jones and the FQF All Stars
The Dixie Cups
The Doghill Stompers*
The Dukes of Dixieland
Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes
Fredy Omar con su Banda
Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Review
The Idlewild String Confederation
Irma Thomas, Soul Queen of New Orleans
Irvin Mayfield and NOJO: the music of Led Zepplin, Nirvana, and Queen
John Mooney and Bluesiana
Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes
Jump, Jive and Wail*
Kid Merv & All That Jazz
Leroy Jones' Original Hurricane Brass Band
Lynn Drury Band
Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles
Neshia Ruffins & the Young Franchise Band*
New Breed Brass Band*
New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and Special Guests
The New Orleans Klezmer All Stars*
New Orleans Nightcrawlers
Norbert Slama Trio
The Original Pinettes Brass Band
Roddy Romero and the Hub City All Stars
Steve Pistorius & the Southern Syncopators
Tank and the Bangas
Waylon Thibodeaux Band
The Write Brothers*
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Banu Gibson & the New Orleans Hot Jazz
Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr. & the Wild Magnolias
Brandon Moreau & His Cajungrass
Christian Serpas & Ghost Town
Clive Wilson's New Orleans Serenaders
Daria and the Hip Drops
Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers
Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra
Don Vappie & the Creole Jazz Serenaders
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
Fontainebleau High School Jazz Ensemble One
Garden District Trio
Gina Brown & Anutha Level
Guitar Slim, Jr.*
Helen Gillet's Wazozo Zorchestra
The Honorable South*
Hot Rod Lincoln
Hot Stuff featuring Becky Allen
Irvin Mayfield and NOJO: Children's Songs
Jerry Embree's Jazzman Band
Jimmy LaRocca's Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Jumonville Staehle Band
Guitarist John Rankin
Kim Carson and the Real Deal
Lagniappe Brass Band
The Lena Prima Band
Little Freddie King
Lost Bayou Ramblers
Micaela y Fiesta Flamenca*
Mississippi Rail Company*
New Orleans Classic Jazz Orchestra
New Orleans Moonshiners
New Orleans Swamp Donkeys
Onward Brass Band
Orange Kellin's New Orleans Deluxe Orchestra
The Original Pin Stripe Jazz Band
Orleans Brass Band
Patrice Fisher and Arpa
Paulin Brothers Jazz Band
Rhodes Spedale & Live Jazz Group
Rick Trolsen's New Orleans Po'Boys
The Ronnie Kole Show featuring John Perkins
Shannon Powell & his Traditional All-Stars
The Smoking Time Jazz Club
Spencer Bohren and the Whippersnappers
Stooges Brass Band
Storyville Stompers Brass Band
The Tin Men
Tricia Boutté & the Bootleg Operation
Walter 'Wolfman' Washington and the Roadmasters
Washboard Chaz Blues Trio
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Alexis and the Samurai
Anaïs St. John
Andrew Hall's Society Brass Band
Babineaux Sisters Band
Ben Polcer and the Grinders
The Bottoms Up Blues Gang
Brother Tyrone & The Mindbenders
Corey Henry's Treme Funktet
Cori Walters and the Universe Jazz Band
Creole String Beans
Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
Dancing at Dusk with Tom Saunders and the Tomcats
Dash Rip Rock
Don Jamison Heritage School of Music
Duke Heitger's Steamboat Stompers
The Friendly Travelers
Fritzel's New Orleans Jazz Band
Gerald French and Friends
Glen David Andrews
Higher Heights Band
Honey Island Swamp Band
Hot Club of New Orleans
The Irene Sage Band
Joe Cabral Thrio
Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers
Kid Simmons Jazz Band
Lars Edegran's New Orleans Jazz Band
The Last Straws
Leroy Jones & New Orleans' Finest
Mahogany Brass Band
Miss Sophie Lee
New Birth Brass Band
The New Orleans Songbook: Featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield, and NOJO
Palmetto Bug Stompers
The Pfister Sisters
Harpist Rachel Van Voorhees
Raw Oyster Cult
Red Hot Brass Band
Riccardo Crespo & Sol Brasil
Rockin' Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters
Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers*
St. Cecilia's Asylum Chorus
St. Louis Cathedral's Young Organist in Residence Karol Mossakowski
Tom McDermot and His Jazz Hellions
Tommy Sancton's New Orleans Legacy Band
Treme Brass Band
Tribute to Al Belletto featuring Leif Pedersen's 1944 Big Band
Wanda Rouzan and A Taste of New Orleans