NEW ORLEANS — The 37th annual French Quarter Festival, originally scheduled for April 16-19, has been postponed until the first week of October because of the spread of COVID-19.
Organizers made the announcement Friday, as the Louisiana Health Department announced there were now 33 presumptive positive cases of the new coronavirus disease in the state, 23 of which are in Orleans Parish.
"French Quarter Festivals, Inc.'s top priority is the health and safety of our fans, artists, staff, volunteers, sponsors, and community," organizers said in a statement.
The festival has been rescheduled to Oct. 1 - Oct. 4.
Headlined by Tank and the Bangas, John Boutté , Amanda Shaw, Irma Thomas and the Hot 8 Brass Band, it was set to host more than 300 performances across its 25 stages.
Organizers said they encourage the hundreds of thousands of visitors who were planning to attend the festival to contact their airlines and hotels. They also said they were in now contact with artists, vendors, and sponsors to coordinate the around the postponement.
The festival is the latest event in the metro area to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This weekend's St. Patrick's Day parades and other events have been canceled. BUKU Fest, scheduled for next weekend, has been postponed until Labor Day.
There are more than 1,700 reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with those numbers increasing as more testing is conducted and the disease spreads. 40 deaths have been reported.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652.
Last year, French Quarter Festival generated nearly $200 million for the local economy, hiring more than 1,700 local musicians and creating 2,100 jobs, organizers said.
"Though our plan has changed, our commitment to our mission hasn't - in fact, it has grown stronger. Now, more than ever, our community needs us," the FQF statement read.
Anyone who would like to donate to the festival can click here.
French Quarter Festival began in 1984 and has grown ever since. The last time the festival was impacted was in 2018 when the Saturday events were cancelled because of severe weather.