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French Quarter Festival unveils lineup for 40th anniversary

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Organizers on Tuesday announced a lineup of more than 270 acts for New Orleans’ 40th annual French Quarter Festival, billed as Louisiana’s largest free showcase of music, food and culture.

Artists scheduled to perform at the April 13-16 event include Irma Thomas, Ani DiFranco, Tank and the Bangas, blues guitarist Samantha Fish and a collaboration between the Soul Rebels and bounce rap artist Big Freedia, organizers said.

The event launches three weeks of musical festivities in the city, with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival taking place the last weekend of April and first weekend of May.

What began decades ago as an open call for local musicians to perform on six stages on Royal and Bourbon Streets has expanded into an event with 20 stages that welcomes over 825,000 people and is a critical economic driver for the city, French Quarter Festival organizers said.

To celebrate this milestone year, organizers are planning a special opening-day parade featuring brass bands and later a fireworks display over the Mississippi River.

Emily Madero, president & CEO of French Quarter Festivals Inc., said the company “is proud to say we have stayed committed to our mission for four decades, providing a platform for local artists, chefs, and restaurants to showcase their talents.”

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she looks forward “to celebrating our wonderful traditions, rich heritage and unique culture that resonate with people across the globe.”

Fish and DiFranco are among more than 50 acts that are making their festival debut. The full schedule will be released in March.

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