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NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The 31st Annual French Quarter Festival will take place April 10 - April 13, 2014. Locals and tourism officials call French Quarter Festival 'the kickoff to festival season in New Orleans,' because what started as a neighborhood festival and 'locals' event' has now become the largest free music festival in the United States.

The 2013 French Quarter Festival hosted over 560,000 local and out-of-town visitors and had an economic impact of over $246 million, according to officials.

In 2014, organizers will host some of New Orleans' finest restaurants at 'The World's Largest Jazz Brunch'; employ over 1,400 world class, local musicians; and create special and unique experiences for festival-goers.

THE 2014 FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL POSTERS:

For the 2014 poster (left below), artist Varion Laurent, a lifelong resident of New Orleans, pays homage to Grammy award-winning Dr. John, who returns this year to French Quarter Festival for the first time since 1987. In this striking painting, bold colors capture the energy of the French Quarter, a perfect backdrop for Dr. John's charismatic persona.

In 1995, Varion graduated from St. Augustine High School. On a whim, his parents encouraged him to submit his portfolio to Xavier University's Art Department, and it was here at Xavier where he was first formally trained as an artist. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed his entire body of artwork, it took Varion nearly two years to emotionally recover and return to art. Since his decision to dive back into painting, Varion has garnered a ground swell of support. He was commissioned by the St. Augustine High School Alumni Association to create a portrait of NBA player, coach Avery Johnson; commissioned by the Gentilly neighborhood association to produce the first three posters for the annual Gentilly Festival; commissioned as the official poster artist for the 2013 Old Algiers River Festival; and in 2010, was selected by French Quarter Festivals, Inc. as the artist to produce the poster for the 10th Anniversary Satchmo SummerFest.

Once again French Quarter Festival features a special limited-edition poster (above, right) created by New Orleans' most well-known French folk-art painter, Simon Hardeveld. Since the early 2000s, Simon Hareveld has entertained many with his jovially phrased paintings that hang around New Orleans restaurants like Boulangerie, Chickie Wah Wah, Lola's, and Joey K's. Born in France and later moving to the United States to start three of his own restaurants, with wife Maria Hardeveld, Simon found his true calling to be a painter at his brasserie in Metairie when customers always wanted to buy his signs behind the counter. Most well-known for his set design work on New Orleans evening news, WGNO News with a Twist, Simon has been commissioned by restaurants, stores, locals, and tourists to create special original paintings for anniversaries, birthdays, or just home decor that captures the spirit of New Orleans. Overall, Simon's pieces whimsically embody the unique culture of this spectacular city.

THE 2014 FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL MUSIC LINEUP:

Thursday, April 10:

  • Bag of Donuts
  • BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
  • Benny Grunch and the Bunch
  • Big Easy Playboys Blues Masters featuring 'Big Al' Carson
  • Bonerama
  • Chris Owens
  • Corey Ledet
  • Eric Lindell
  • Flow Tribe
  • Fredy Omar con su Banda
  • Gravy
  • Irma Thomas, Soul Queen of New Orleans
  • Joe Krown, Walter 'Wolfman' Washington & Russell Batiste
  • Lionel Ferbos and the Louisiana Shakers
  • New Birth Brass Band
  • Organic Trio
  • Panorama Jazz Band
  • PJ Morton
  • PresHall Brass Band
  • Rebecca Roubion
  • Rusty Metoyer and the Zydeco Krush
  • Sean Bruce Symphony Chorus of New Orleans
  • Soul Project NOLA
  • Tank and the Bangas
  • The Pfister Sisters
  • The Victory Big Band
  • Waylon Thibodeaux Band

Friday, April 11:

  • Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys
  • Audacity Brass Band
  • Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses
  • Banu Gibson & the New Orleans Hot Jazz
  • Brandon Moreau and Cajungrass
  • Brass-A-Holics
  • Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band
  • Camile Baudoin and the Living Rumors
  • Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
  • Connie Jones and the FQF All Stars
  • Dash Rip Rock
  • Davell Crawford
  • Davis Rogan
  • Debauche
  • Diablo's Horns
  • Don Vappie & the Creole Jazz Serenaders
  • Donald Harrison, Jr.
  • Dr. John and the Nite Trippers
  • Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue
  • George Porter, Jr. & Runnin' Pardners
  • Kid Merv and All That Jazz
  • Lagniappe Brass Band
  • Leroy Jones' Original Hurricane Brass Band
  • Luke Winslow-King
  • Marc Stone
  • Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas
  • Nigel Hall
  • Paul Sanchez and Minimum Rage
  • Rebirth Brass Band
  • Robin Barnes
  • Rotary Downs
  • Shannon Powell and his Traditional All-stars
  • Stooges Brass Band
  • The Dukes of Dixieland (40th Anniversary)
  • The New Orleans Nightingales Revue
  • The Roots of Music
  • Tricia Boutte & Bootleg Operation
  • Wendell Brunious

Saturday, April 12:

  • Amy Trail
  • Andrew Duhon
  • Babineaux Sisters Band
  • Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr. & the Wild Magnolias
  • Brother Tyrone & the Mindbenders
  • Charmaine Neville
  • Chegadao
  • Chris Mule & the Perpetrators
  • Christian Serpas & Ghost Town
  • Clive Wilson's New Orleans Serenaders
  • Colin Lake
  • Corey Henry's Treme Funktet
  • Cori Walters and the Universe Jazz Band
  • Dave Ferrato & Tchoupazine
  • Denton Hatcher
  • Duke Heitger's Steamboat Stompers
  • Egg Yolk Jubilee
  • Erica Falls
  • Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes
  • Feufollet
  • Garden District Trio
  • Glen David Andrews
  • Hot Club of New Orleans
  • Irvin Mayfield and the Jazz Playhouse Revue
  • Jaland Crossland
  • Jane Harvey Brown Traditional Jazz Stars
  • Jerry Embree's Jazzman Band
  • Jimmy LaRocca's Original Dixieland Jazz Band
  • John Autin and Ex-Treme
  • Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes
  • Jumonville/Staehle
  • Lars Edegran's New Orleans Jazz Band
  • Lena Prima and Band
  • Lynn Drury
  • New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings
  • NOCCA Jazz Ensemble
  • Onward Brass Band
  • Opera on Tap
  • Otra
  • Ovi-G and the Froggies
  • Rebecca Roubion
  • Renard Poche Band
  • Rick Trolsen's New Orleans Po-Boys
  • Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars
  • Royal & Dumaine Hawaiians
  • Russell Batiste & Friends w/ the Wild Tchoupitoulas featuring Jason Neville
  • Rusty Metoyer and the Zydeco Krush
  • Sean Ardoin-n-Zydekool
  • Sean Bruce
  • Some Like it Hot Traditional Jazz Band
  • Steve Pistorius & the Southern Syncopators
  • The Bottoms Up Blues Gang
  • The Dixie Cups (50th Anniversary)
  • The Irene Sage Band
  • The New Orleans Jazz Vipers
  • The Original Pinettes Brass Band
  • The Ronnie Kole Show featuring John Perkins
  • The Smoking Time Jazz Club
  • Tim Laughlin
  • Tom McDermott & His Jazz Hellions
  • Tommy Malone
  • Travis Meadows
  • Walter 'Wolfman' Washington and the Roadmasters
  • Zion Trinity Band

Sunday, April 13:

  • Alexis and the Samurai
  • Anais St. John
  • Andrew Hall's Society Brass Band
  • Astral Project
  • Baby Bee
  • Bamboula 2000
  • Bucktown All-Stars
  • Carl LeBlanc
  • Casa Samba Extravaganza
  • Creole String Beans
  • Crescent City Brass
  • Dancing at Dusk with the Tom Saunders and the Tomcats
  • Daria and the Hip Drops
  • Don Jamison Heritage School of Music
  • Gina Brown & Anutha Level
  • Harmonouche
  • Harpist Rachel Van Voorhees
  • Helen Gillet's Wazozo Zorchestra
  • Hot 8 Brass Band
  • I'voire Spectacle
  • Ingrid Lucia
  • James Andrews
  • Jeremy Davenport
  • John Fohl
  • Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
  • Kid Simmons Jazz Band
  • Kristin Diable
  • Leif Pedersen's 1944 Big Band
  • Leroy Jones & New Orleans' Finest
  • Les Freres Michot
  • Lillian Boutte & Gumbo Zaire
  • Linnzi Zaorski
  • Little Freddie King
  • Los Po-Boy-Citos
  • Lost Bayou Ramblers
  • Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra
  • Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
  • Miss Sophie Lee
  • Nasimiyu Marumba Band
  • New Orleans Classic Jazz Orchestra
  • New Orleans Moonshiners
  • Orange Kellin's New Orleans Deluxe Orchestra
  • Orleans Brass Band
  • Peter Novelli
  • Raw Oyster Cult
  • Rhodes Spedale & Cool Breeze
  • Seva Venet and his Storyville Stringband
  • Storyville Stompers Brass Band
  • Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots
  • Susan Cowsill
  • The Believers
  • The Friendly Travelers
  • The Idlewild String Confederation
  • The Iguanas
  • The New Orleans Suspects
  • The Uptown Jazz Orchestra
  • Tommy Sancton's New Orleans Legacy Band
  • Treme Brass Band
  • Tuba Skinny
  • Wanda Rouzan and a Taste of New Orleans
  • Young Reliance Brass Band
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