French Quarter Festival director Marci Schramm, a host of sponsors and former mayor and current Urban League president Marc Morial announced details of the 30th anniversary French Quarter Festival (April 11-14). The initial musical lineup is here, and some of the top acts include Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Donald Harrison Jr., Soul Rebels, Raw Oyster Cult (a revised Radiators lineup), Bonerama, Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Orchestra, Bill Summers and Jazalsa, Dr. Michael White and many others. The festival is also reintroducing evening concerts, and they include performances by Dirty Dozen Brass Band, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience.
In brief remarks, Morial discussed the founding of the festival during his father Ernest "Dutch" Morial's administration. In advance of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, improvements to French Quarter sidewalks and infrastructure had caused disruptions for businesses in the historic district.
"The idea (for the first festival) was to celebrate the end of construction," he said. "It might have been a one year event, but look what we have today."
The 2012 festival drew more than 500,000 visitors, half of them local, said Schramm, and it created an economic impact of $260 million. It featured 1,400 musicians on 21 stages and more than 2,000 volunteers worked on the event.
There are several festival posters for the 30th anniversary, and the main one is artist Tami Curtis Ellis' image of Kermit Ruffins in Jackson Square.
Other additions to the four-day free event include more traditional jazz on stages at the French Market and Bourbon Street; local film screenings at the U.S. Mint; more dance lessons; the cabaret stage will move to The Palm Court; oil company Chevron has become the festival's title sponsor and will set up a tent with interactive games and exhibits highlighting math, science and technology. It also will sponsor Satchmo SummerFest. Sponsor Abita Brewing Company is adding mention of the festival to six-pack wraps that will be distributed throughout the country. Capital One is sponsoring free shuttles at the festival and free smart phone apps with festival information.