Fall is prime time for music festivals (cool weather, plenty of bands on tour) and the local centerpiece is the annual Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in City Park (Oct. 31-Nov. 2). The Halloween weekend event features Outkast, Foo Fighters (pictured), Arctic Monkeys, Slayer, Thirty Seconds to Mars and Lauryn Hill, among dozens of others. Leading the growing pack of electronic artists on the festival's ever-expanding Le Plur stage is Skrillex, who returns to the festival following his huge 2012 performance. The Le Plur stage — a stronghold of electronic dance music artists and DJs — hosts 23 performances over the weekend, more than any other stage. The festival's biggest draw likely is Outkast, the legendary Atlanta hip-hop duo who teased New Orleans by skipping over several big festivals (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Essence Festival) as it made its "reunion" tour rounds across the U.S. Other highlights include Death From Above 1979's return to the stage, as well as Voodoo debuts by Action Bronson, Benjamin Booker, the Melvins and Pretty Lights. Among the local performers are Big Freedia, Givers, Rebirth Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Trombone Shorty and Quintron & Miss Pussycat. Three-day general admission passes are $175; single-day tickets are $73. Visit www.worshipthemusic.com for details.
The Gretna Heritage Fest (Oct. 3-5 in downtown Gretna) celebrates its 20th anniversary with 25 blocks of food, arts and crafts, carnival rides and games, a German beer garden and six stages of music. The fest made headlines months before its performers hit the stage. CeeLo Green was scheduled to headline the event, but after Green sent a series of controversial tweets about rape, festival organizers announced they had canceled his set. In his place are rock 'n' roll stalwarts Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Among other headlining performers are Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Gregg Allman Band, Phosphorescent, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and The Guess Who. The list of local performers includes Brass-A-Holics, Daria & the Hip Drops, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, Lagniappe Brass Band and Paul Sanchez, among others. Tickets are $47.50 for a weekend pass; single-day tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. Visit www.gretnafest.com for details.
From Oct. 17-19 in Lafayette Square, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation holds the ninth annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival. The free festival includes performances from Los Lobos, Bobby Rush, Ana Popovic, Valerie June and others, including local musicians Mia Borders, King James & the Special Men, Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Luke Winslow-King. Filling the other half of the event name is the barbecue lineup, and there's also an arts market. While the event is free and open to the public, there are $250 VIP passes good for all three days that include access to a hospitality suite, complimentary bar, stage viewing areas and bathrooms. Visit www.jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest for details.
This season is missing three familiar events: Old Algiers Riverfest, Harvest the Music and Ponderosa Stomp have taken a hiatus in 2014 (Ponderosa Stomp pledges to return in fall 2015).