While JazzFest gets all the press, I’m finding the French Quarter Festival to be a lot of fun. For one thing, I ran across the talented buskers Tanya and Dorise (pictured), who are not officially part of the festival, but gathered a good crowd outside Rouses on Royal.
The other thing is that most of the musicians are local, rather than the “big names” imported for JazzFest. There are brass bands, of course, an all Cajun/Zydeco stage, and Friday I found a great set of piano jazz: stride, shuffle, and shameless boogie-woogie. There’s trad jazz at Preservation Hall and even an international stage with folks from Denmark, Austria, and elsewhere.
FQF also feels like a local crowd (though there’s no shortage of tourists) — this is the first time I’ve had trouble finding a place to park my bike. The Quarter fills up with music of all kinds. Last night I even ran across a Celtic harpist who had claimed a corner to play.