April in New Orleans means Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest and, inevitably, afternoon rain and thunderstorms. With Jazz Fest at the end of the month and reaching into May, there are occasional years it escapes our April showers but seven days of Festival means that chances are better than not that someone's set will get rained on.
Get a jump on Jazz Fest on the evening of Thursday, April 23 by taking it back to the very beginning. The Louisiana State Museum will be showing seven 16mm film reels from the first Jazz Fest in 1970 at the Old U.S. Mint. The reels feature Duke Ellington, Mahalia Jackson, Pete Fountain, Danny Barker, and many more iconic artists.
Shorty Fest, a benefit concert for the Trombone Shorty Foundation's music education programs, happens at Generations Hall in the Warehouse District on Thursday, April 30. The evening will showcase emerging local talent with three stages of live music and a full headlining performance by Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Ivan Neville, and lots more.
This year's Record Store Day is happening on Saturday, April 18. Record Store Day is an annual celebration of the people who make up the world of the record store, including staff, customers, and artists, as they come together to recognize the unique culture of a record store and the special role that independent record stores play in the community.
WWOZ and Indywood Movie Theater present three special music-themed films to coincide with Jazz Fest. Collectively, the films reveal a great variety of cinematic approaches to exploring musicians and their music, and showcase a variety of genres. The films are "The Harder They Come," "Monterey Pop," and "Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue."
The Abita Springs Busker Festival (née Louisiana Busker Festival) is taking place this year on Sunday, April 19 just north of the lake in downtown Abita Springs. This free festival features some of the best local talent that you can catch on the streets of the French Quarter and around the country at various times of year. This year's lineup includes veterans The Smoking Time Jazz Club, Tuba Skinny, The Deslondes, The Longtime Goners, and more.
WWOZ has partnered with local independent movie theater Indywood for a series of screenings. Coming this Sunday, April 12 at 7pm, is "Ornette: Made in America," a documentary about free jazz pioneer and Pulitzer Prize winner Ornette Coleman.
French Quarter Fest is rapidly approaching; this year's festival will be happening from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday April 12. WWOZ will be there broadcasting live for those of you who can't make it in person.
With less than three weeks to go, check out these lesser-known facts about one of New Orleans' biggest and fastest growing festivals: