Louisiana: It's where jazz was born, where Cajun and zydeco were created and where country music's early stars got their start. With such a rich musical heritage, it should come as no surprise that we host some of spring's best music festivals. Here are four to check out this year:
Festival International de Louisiane: For more than 25 years, this free festival in Lafayette has been celebrating south Louisiana's French cultural heritage. Native musicians as well as performing artists from Europe, Africa, Canada and the Caribbean play on the festival's six stages. Recent performers included Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Busted Root and Gary Clark Jr. just to name a few. If you go, learn more about the performers and create your own festival schedule using their free mobile app for iPhone and Droid. Before you get lost in the variety and quality of music, take time to shop Marche des Arts, a fine arts market with artists from around the country, and Marche du Monde, a world market with sculptures, photography, jewelry and more by artisans around the globe.
DeltaFest: In north Louisiana, Monroe's annual DeltaFest is all about music, food, family and fun. The event has featured performances by Jars of Clay, The Fray, Tank and Charlie Wilson. Now, the NELA Celtic Festival has joined DeltaFest to present additional live music on an outdoor stage. A carnival, face painting and bicycle rodeo make this event kid-friendly.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Don't be fooled by the name. While this 40-plus-year-old festival certainly draws some of the best jazz artists, it's hard to think of a musical style that isn't represented here. Find seven days worth of performances by past festival artists such as Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, the Eagles, Zac Brown Band, Trombone Shorty, The Neville Brothers, the Foo Fighters and many more. The food at this festival rivals the music in popularity. Folks line up for their Jazz Fest favorites, including Crawfish Bread.
Bayou Country Superfest: Dust off those boots and grab your cowboy hat because some of country music's biggest stars are taking over Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Spend Memorial Day weekend with hitmakers like Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean and other chart-toppers, and arrive early for the Fan Fest and Tailgate party held outside the stadium.
French Quarter Festival: Head to New Orleans for this longtime festival favorite held in the historic French Quarter. Its a massive event with 21 stages and 400-plus hours of live entertainment. But a large part of its popularity is due to its price tag—it's absolutely free to hear all of that outstanding music! It is known as the South's largest free music festival.