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Freret Fest Offers Freedom, Four Stages

Freret Street commences its festival phase as over 200 vendors line up for the annual Freret Street Festival this weekend. From kimonos to cupcakes to crafts, the street will be stirring with all types of vendors, food and festie fanatics. 


“We will have 234 vendors which range from food to fine art to photography to crafts to non profits,” said Michelle Ingram of the Freret Market.  “There’s everything for everyone.” 


Food and drink vendors sit at every intersection, and offer an equally wide variety of delicacies.  Whether you have a hankering for something healthy, a craving for crawfish, or an insatiable sweet tooth, the options seem endless.  Food vendors include The Fry Bar, Dat Dog, Sur Empanadas, Royal Pie Company, KB Seafood, Boucherie, Flights of Fancy, Sweet NOLA Cupcakes, Saucy’s, and numerous others. 


“You never have to walk far to find food or beer or water,” said Ingram.  Indeed, this seems to be the key to any New Orleanian’s happiness


Of course, the more sedentary citizens can stumble into one of the many permanent restaurants popping up on Freret.  Ancora slangs flatbreads on one corner, while the High Hat serves up bowls full of gumbo on the other.  


“We have so many new businesses on the street.  You can walk into a business and maybe learn something new about the street,” said Ingram. 


With a satisfied stomach, the avid shopper can also peruse a line of unique boutiques, selling everything from jewelry to furniture to art to photographs to soap.  Some vendors include Divine Designs, Cowden’s Collection, Contessa Unique Tutus, Ear Arts, Fire & Ice Designs, HoneyBone Art Studio and more. 


Whether you’re in the mood to be frugal or frivolous, prices go from one dollar to hundreds of dollars.  “We have just about everything,” said Ingram.  “We even have a kimono vendor and beef jerky vendor;” the two new additions to the fest.


One thing separates Freret Fest from your ordinary, chaotic festival experience.  Despite the enormous amount of vendors and people weaving in and out, pedestrians can still navigate the street.  


“We’re a little different from other festivals because of our layout.  We had over 17,000 people last year and the street remained passable,” said Ingram.  “It’s a very family friendly. It’s not like you’re going to get stuck anywhere.”  


This festival promises to avoid that moment of claustrophobic panic when you’re stuck behind a stroller and a group linking arms, looking for the bar.  


As with every New Orleans festival that involves booze and food, music completes the trifecta.  Four stages feature Frenchman favorites like Mia Borders, Eric Lindell, the Bone Tone Brass Band and others.  Check below for the full lineup and music schedule below.  


Last year’s festival attracted as many as 17,000, this year aims to continues the tradition with more people, more food and more fun.  


Ochsner/ Other Bar Stage: Freret and Valmont

12:00-1:15 pm Naughty Professor

1:15- 1:45 pm Capoeira Maculele Demonstration

1:45- 3:00 pm Creole String Beans

3:30- 4:30 pm JD Hill & the Jammers

4:45- 6:00 pm Eric Lindell


Cure/ Iberia Bank Stage at Midway: Upperline Street

12:00-1:15 pm Tanglers Bluegrass Band

1:30- 2:45 pm Vivaz

2:45- 3:00 pm Capoeira Maculele Demonstration

3:15- 4:15 pm Mia Borders

4:45- 6:00 pm Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes


Publiq House/ Homebank Stage at Zeus’ Place: Cadiz Street

12:00-1:15 pm Gravy

1:45- 3:00 pm Claude Bryant All Stars

3:15- 4:30 pm Caesar Brothers Band  

4:45- 6:00 pm Wild Magnolias


Freret Street Yoga/ The New Freret Stage: Freret and Napoleon

12:00-1:00 pm Culu Dance and Drum

1:15- 2:15 pm Bourbon Brass

2:30- 3:30 pm Nfungola Sibo

3:45- 4:45 pm Bone Tone Brass Band

5:00- 6:00 pm Lagniappe Brass Band  


Emma Boyce wrote this article.

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