French Quarter Fest is my favorite festival of the year. The 4-day free festival features local food booths and music on 23 stages throughout the Quarter. The weather was glorious, 77 and sunny with a breeze coming off the river. If the Thursday crowd was any indication of attendance, this year will be a record breaker. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit missing the days when many of the attendees were as local as the festival itself. Seems the secret is out. I was no help – live Tweeting all day to share my wonderful time with the world.
We started with Kermit Ruffins, who we’ve seen dozens of times, then wandered over to the stage by the Aquarium for the Charlie Wooton Project, a group we’d never seen. That’s one of the best things about the fest – discovering new music. French Quarter Fest was the first time I heard Rebirth Brass Band, Margie Perez, Glen David Andrews and so many more.
Next, we headed to Joe Krown Trio with Walter Wolfman Washington and Russell Batiste, Jr. I’m hoping to catch Walter Wolfman again when he plays with his band today. I managed to catch a lucky shot of DancingMan504 jumping high in the air entertaining the crowd (photo below). Then Lynn Drury took the stage and Christine Miller of Two Chicks Walking Tours joined us for the show. Though Christine was a fan, Lynn was another first for me.
Lunch was Beef Debris Po-boy with Truffled Cole Slaw ($8) from Restaurant R’Evolution, Audubon Nature Institute’s Crawfish Bread ($7) and Strawberry Shortcake ($5) from GW Fins.
Sonny Landreth was great but his crowd spilled way past the stage’s limits. I had a very bad experience with a horrible visitor. It would be wonderful if these larger crowds meant more people having fun.
So we headed back to the Aquarium stage for Cha Wa, a Mardi Gras Indian band in full feathers. I especially loved singing along to Indian Red. We ate Nectar Creme Sno-balls ($4) from Plum Street then danced for over an hour to John “Papa” Gros. I was thrilled to see Pete Murano in the mix. Not only is he one of my favorite local guitarists, he’s one of my favorite musicians to photograph. I’ve left a few extra of him in the edit so you can see why.
We finished our day with Red Beans & Rice with Sausage ($7) from Wink’s Bakery and it was a perfect ending to a nearly perfect day.
I’ll be live Tweeting throughout the fest @KnowSmallParts.