At French Quarter Festival, it's easy to head to the Riverfront's larger stages or Jackson Square, throw down a blanket and chairs and not move. But most of the festival's 23 stages are spread throughout the historic district, and there are many camp-worthy spots in areas not as heavily traveled. Here are a few slates to consider.
Friday at the Cajun/zydeco stage
12:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m. Waylon Thibodeaux Band
2 p.m.-3:15 p.m. The Babineaux Sisters
3:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Lost Bayou Ramblers
5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band
The dedicated Cajun and zydeco music stage is hard to miss, situated at the split of Decatur and N. Peters streets, and Friday is a good day to park there. The highlights are sets by the Lost Bayou Ramblers, one of the young Cajun bands carrying the mantle of writing new music, and Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, whose 2010 album Zydeco Junkie won the last Grammy Award for a Cajun or zydeco album. Former state fiddle champion Waylon Thibodeaux starts the day with his Cajun band, followed by The Babineaux Sisters, who have branched off their Cajun roots and released an EP that climbed iTunes' country charts. There are dance lessons at 1:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Friday at the Esplanade in the Shade stage
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Sarah Quintana & the Miss River Band
12:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m. Benny Grunch and the Bunch
2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Little Maker
3:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Susan Cowsill
5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. The Batture Boys
On a stage shaded by oak trees in front of the Old U.S. Mint, the day gets off to a jazzy start and there's a long afternoon of Americana-esque rock. Sarah Quintana last released Miss River, a folk and jazz album featuring sounds of the Mississippi River incorporated into tracks. Closing the day, The Batture Boys is a collaboration between former mellow-rocking subdude Tommy Malone and former Continental Drifter Ray Ganucheau. Next week, the band releases Muddy Water, a six-song EP delving into bluesy Americana. Also performing are fellow former Continental Drifter Susan Cowsill and Micah McKee, leading his indie pop band Little Maker.
Saturday afternoon at the Jazz Playhouse stage (300 Bourbon St.)
2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Ed Peterson & Victor Atkins
5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Bill Summers & Amber Matthews
The stage's short schedule features a few virtuosos. Saxophonist Ed Peterson may be best known as a sideman and for contributions such as his work on the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra's Grammy Award-winning Book One. Here, he and pianist Victor Atkins present a tribute to Stevie Wonder. Master percussionist Bill Summers, a former member of The Headhunters and Herbie Hancock collaborator, performs with vocalist Amber Matthews.
Sunday at the Songwriter Stage
2:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Hannah Kreiger-Benson
3 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Amy Trail
3:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m. The Asylum Chorus
4:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Maggie Koerner
5:15 p.m.-6 p.m. Colin Lake
The songwriter stage at the Historic New Orleans Collection (533 Royal St.) presents notable local vocalists and songwriters. Hannah Kreiger-Benson and Amy Trail hold down solo sets before joining The Asylum Chorus, which features pop and classical vocalists singing folk and soul music and original takes on pop tunes. Maggie Koerner made a name for herself cowriting and singing "Hey Na Na" for Galactic. Blues and folk guitarist and singer Colin Lake closes the stage.