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Bayou Boogaloo

Bayou Boogaloo
Photo courtesy of Bayou Boogaloo –

One of the standouts in the seemingly never-ending string of festivals New Orleans hosts all year round is Bayou Boogaloo, which grew from the post-Katrina scrappy little neighborhood festival to a four-stage, weekend-long extravaganza. Since its inception in 2006, Bayou Boogaloo now draws upwards of 35,000 people and has become as much a fixture on the festival calendar as its Mid-City neighbor, Jazz Fest, and the city’s street-party season opener, French Quarter Fest.

Also a favorite of both the locals and the in-the-know visitors, this festival is taking place not in the French Quarter but on the sprawling, picturesque banks of Bayou St. John — between Dumaine Streets and Lafitte Avenue in the in Mid-City neighborhood. Its bucolic setting as a floating party, with its flotillas of inflatables, paddleboats and kayaks, gives the three-day festival its own unique character.

This year, Bayou Boogaloo falls on Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19. Just like in the previous years, the festival is pet- and kid-friendly. Traditionally the Boogaloo has been focusing on mostly local music, including the best of the brass bands, zydeco, Mardi Gras Indians, and other incredible New Orleans and Louisiana acts. In the past, the Boogaloo has hosted everyone from Irma Thomas to Lost Bayou Ramblers and Beausoleil.

The food vendor list also reads like the who-is-who of some of the best restaurants in the city, including the returning mainstays like Boswell’s Jamaican Grill, Ajun Cajun, Gulf Tacos, plus snowball and lemonade booths, and plenty of booths with adult beverages from Pal’s, Pearl Wine Company, local breweries, and others. The ever-growing food menu now includes more gluten-free and vegan options.

The curated arts market includes dozens of regional artists. The Family Village will once again offer games and activities to the kids and families and provide the respite from the heat with its misting fans and shade.

You can buy merch online anytime, including the fabulous 2019 festival poster created by the local artist Lionel Milton.

2019 Updates

  • For the first time in its history Bayou Boogaloo will be charging admission fee — $10 per day or $20 for all three days to cover the increased land use fees from the City of New Orleans. Children under 12 are free. VIP passes for the Canopy Club, which was introduced last year, are $75-$250. You can get three-day and VIP tickets online, or one-day tickets at one of the several entrances to the fest on the days of the fest. The Canopy Club is the fest’s VIP lounge located next to the main stage, with access to a climate-controlled restroom, a private bar, and catered food. The lounge features shade, misting fans, seating, and the stage-front view.
  • The state’s Wildlife and Fisheries Department will have now presence at the fest to help ensure boat safety. This means that, depending on size of the boat and passengers’ ages, people in boats and rafts might have to wear life jackets and follow other boating guidelines.
  • This year, there are 22 acts in the stellar lineup, including Anders Osborne, Amanda Shaw, Cowboy Mouth, Little Freddie King, Debauche, Tab Benoit, plus the out-of-town the Suffers and RAM Haiti.
  • Urban South Brewery, which is sponsoring a stage at the far end at Lafitte Avenue, will be serving its recent creation, Boogaloo Blonde.
  • Look for a paddle boat race hosted by Kayakitiyat and a pub crawl on bikes hosted by Mid-City Volleyball, both on Saturday morning.
  • A new vendor Creole Caveman will be serving four dishes that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, and egg. The fest has partnered with Ochsner’s Eat Fit NOLA to bring some healthier options to the fest, as well as the offerings that can accommodate various diets, like sugar-free snoballs and unsweetened drinks. You can find the full food vendor list and their menus, including the Eat Fit-approved menu, here.