The fall's biggest music festival in New Orleans no longer bills itself as a music festival. With its dozens of national and international artists and a growing number of other attractions — from sideshows and carnival rides to parades and interactive booths — the Voodoo Experience returns to City Park Nov. 1-3 with headliners The Cure, Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam. Calvin Harris, Bassnectar, Afrojack and others will perform on the increasingly popular electronic music-focused stage. In recent years it's become the site of weekendlong ragers for the under-30 set. The festival also goes heavy on pop-punk — including Paramore, Desaparecidos, The Gaslight Anthem, Matt & Kim, New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio. Dr. John, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Royal Teeth are on the bill, and C.C. Adcock, G-Eazy, John Michael Rouchell and Flow Tribe are among the dozens of local performers occupying the before-dark stage slots. Voodoo also offers campgrounds and VIP campgrounds for a second year but both are sold out. General admission weekend passes are $200. Visit www.worshipthemusic.com for details.
Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago and ZZ Top are on the bill at the Gretna Heritage Festival, which fills downtown Gretna (Oct. 4-6) with music spread over seven stages. Other performers include Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tab Benoit and almost 60 bands, mostly representing jazz, blues, funk and rock 'n' roll. The festival erects a German beer garden in time for Oktoberfest, and the food court features more than 100 dishes from local vendors. Single-day tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate; weekend passes are $40 in advance and $50 at the gate. Visit www.gretnafest.com for details.
Among the free fall fests, Old Algiers Riverfest returns Sept. 28-29 (the last weekend of the Algiers-Canal Street ferry before the fares kick in) with Nicholas Payton, Dr. Michael White, Shamarr Allen, Hot 8 Brass Band and others. Bands perform at Belleville and Patterson streets near the levee in Algiers Point. Visit www.oldalgiersriverfest.com for details.
The annual celebration of rock 'n' roll's unsung heroes, the Ponderosa Stomp (Oct. 3-5), will be at Rock 'N' Bowl for the final two nights (Oct. 4-5) and promises "the best music you've never heard" — including The Standells (known for "Dirty Water"), cult classic soul singer Swamp Dogg, Washington state proto-punks The Sonics, and Dusty Springfield's favorite singer Baby Washington. The Stomp includes a music history conference and a record show. Two-day passes are $100; single night tickets are $50. Visit www.ponderosastomp.com for details.
Presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the 2013 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival hits Lafayette Square Oct. 18-20. The free festival features guitar whiz Jonny Lang, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters harmonica sideman James Cotton and singer Shemekia Copeland, among others. Local favorites include Guitar Lightnin' Lee, The Iguanas and Sonny Landreth. On the other end of the deal, there's plenty of barbecue and an Abita beer sports bar (thought it's a bye week for the New Orleans Saints). The festival also offers free bike parking, an oral history stage and an art market. Visit www.jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest for details.For 20+ more upcoming festival and events, click here.