If you can't find a stage that's right for you at the French Quarter Festival, then you probably don't like music. As the free festival has ballooned in size and popularity, it has added stages throughout the French Quarter. Main stages along the Riverfront and in Jackson Square have always featured a mix of New Orleans jazz and brass bands, rock and funk groups and more. Now with 21 stages, the festival features several smaller stages dedicated to traditional jazz on Bourbon and Royal streets. There's classical music at the Old Ursuline Convent, and if it's too hot, festivalgoers can take refuge inside Preservation Hall, Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse or the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, which features cabaret performances.
More than 1,400 local musicians perform during the festival's four days, and headliner Dr. John returns to the lineup for the first time since 1987. BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet performs on the Cajun and zydeco stage at Bienville Place, and other acts from Acadiana include Feufollet, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band and Lost Bayou Ramblers. The Hot 8 and Treme brass bands perform on the brass band stage, which has been moved from the lawn in front of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas to the Old U.S. Mint.
Besides musical entertainment, there are dance lessons at many stages. A large kids' area with music and activities is located on the Riverfront. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival presents free film screenings (see "Cameo appearances," page TK) at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, and there are panel discussions about local music at the Old U.S. Mint.
Below is the festival schedule with added notes on some performers.