Events » New Orleans Event Previews

Four music festivals and Carnival concerts celebrating Mardi Gras 2018

Free fests from Zulu and others

  • Photo by Cheryl Gerber

With a steady stream of marching bands in Carnival parades, there's plenty of music on the streets. But there also are bands on stages at mini-festivals, many of which are free. Here are a few musical events during the last week of Carnival.

Samedi Gras
The Endymion parade ends at the Superdome, where the Endymion Extravaganza ( features Rod Stewart and Jason Derulo. Near where the krewe lines up in New Orleans City Park is the annual free pre-parade festival, Samedi Gras. There's music by the Bucktown All-Stars, Groovy 7 and The Topcats. Krewe officers and riding celebrities also greet the crowds. The stage is on Orleans Avenue at N. Olympia Street and entertainment is from noon to 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

Zulu Lundi Gras Festival
The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club hosts its 25th annual Zulu Lundi Gras Festival ( at Woldenberg Park. The event is designed to introduce elected figures, or Zulu "characters," this year including Big Shot John A. Gourrier Jr., Witch Doctor Kevin Guidry and Mr. Big Stuff Christopher Brown Sr. King Zulu Brent D. Washington Sr. and Queen Troye M. Madison also will be introduced, and the king greets Rex and Mayor Mitch Landrieu at 6 p.m. at The Riverwalk. The introductions are spaced out between performances on two music stages form 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday. Performers include Rebirth Brass Band, Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers, Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, Pin Stripe and Original Pinettes brass bands, DJ Jubilee, Zulu Ensemble and others. There's also a kids' stage with performances by high school bands and dance teams. More than 20 vendors offer seafood, po-boys, Creole dishes, sweets and more. Admission is free.

Lundi Gras at Riverwalk
Due to construction at Spanish Plaza, Rex arrives by train at The Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk, and the annual concert and festivities surrounding the proclamation of his Fat Tuesday reign over Carnival take place near the intersection of Julia Street and Convention Center Boulevard. Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters take the stage at 2:15 p.m. Monday and Cowboy Mouth performs at 4:15 p.m. Rex arrives at 6 p.m. and is greeted by Landrieu and King Zulu. Fireworks follow the ceremony. Admission is free.

The Krewe of Orpheus' ( parade theme is a whimsical look at the world of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but the ball features a tribute to New Orleans musicians in honor of the city's tricentennial. Performers include Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Irma Thomas, Big Freedia, Deacon John Moore, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Amanda Shaw, Dixie Cups, Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes, Bonerama, Flow Tribe and others. Many performers also ride in the parade. Orpheuscapade is at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Doors open at 7 p.m. Monday. Tickets $179 in advance, $199 at the door.

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