Preview // 2012 French Quarter Festival

It’s common to hear this weekend’s annual French Quarter Fest referred to as the younger sibling/cousin/progeny of the much grander New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but these days that classification is really only applicable based on the literal age of the event.  Sure, FQF didn’t land Bruce Springsteen and His E Street Band this year, but due in no small part to a very attractive price of admission, the four-day showcase regularly out-draws it’s Mid-City companion.

With attendance expected to surpass 500,000, The French Quarter Festival is the largest admission-free music event in the Gulf South and features a line-up composed almost exclusively of New Orleans talent.  With 20 stages scattered around the Quarter, Riverfront and Marigny, almost every jazz, folk, R&B, gospel and brass band in the city can be found somewhere on the bill; and as the weekend grows, it grows more eclectic with a greater sampling of some of the city’s younger movers and shakers showing up every year. Here are a few recommendations when navigating the huge crowds and extensive schedule.

04.12: The Revivalists – 4:30PM, Absolut Louis-Louis Stage (Woldenberg Park)

04.13: MyNameIsJohnMichael – 3:45PM, Malibu Rum Esplanade In The Shade (Old U.S. Mint)

04.15: The Tin Men – 2:00PM, Malibu Rum Esplanade In The Shade (Old U.S. Mint)

04.16: Theresa Andersson – 2:15PM, Abita Beer Stage (Woldenberg Park)

Before her surprise appearance in this year’s Muses parade – where she was carried down St. Charles Ave. on a large puppet goose as part of a music video shoot – it had been a while since New Orleans had heard from local, self-made songstress Theresa Andersson.  After arriving from her native Sweden in 1990 to support fellow Swedish transplant Anders Osborne during his first wave of mainstream success, Andersson struck out on her own and became a leading name in New Orleans’ early 2000s burgeoning alternative rock scene.  Crafting a one-woman show that evolved into a spacey mix of Keller Williams-style loop-pedal wizardry and nimble Kate Bush-like melodies, Andersson seemed primed for national stardom by the time 2008’s Hummingbird, Go! caught the attention of the critics at Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.

But after spending nearly two years on a world tour, Andersson returned to New Orleans to find out she was pregnant with her first child, aiding in her creative quest to record a suitable follow-up to her breakthrough album but further keeping her out of the public eye.  With her new album Street Parade set to drop at the end of April, Andersson is back on the local scene with a six-pack of shows starting Sunday at French Quarter Fest and ending during Jazz Fest before setting out on a tour down the West Coast.

29th Annual French Quarter Festival


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