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Robert CrayNEW ORLEANS, LA - The 12th annual edition of Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival starts Friday October 13th with performances by Deavon John's Jump Blues and Luther Kent and Trick Bag.

More details from Crescent City Blues Fest (www.crescentcitybluesfest.com):

The fall weather is upon us, which means it's time for the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival. The 12th annual edition of this award-winning event starts this Friday evening with Deacon John's Jump Blues and Luther Kent & Trick Bag, and continues through Sunday, when Grammy-winner Bobby Rush closes out. It all happens at New Orleans' Lafayette Square Park. For the complete lineup of music, food and our extensive arts market, please visit www.crescentcitybluesfest.comAnother free event brought to you by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.


Grammy-winners Robert Cray (pictured) and Bobby Rush are the headline peformers at this year's Blues & BBQ. But there's a whole lot more, including some awesome hidden gems - like the gospel-singing Como Mamas from Como, MS, Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood from Jackson, MS., and north Louisiana's Robert Finley - who at age 64 is finally finding the limelight for his soulful blues style. There's a whole lot more to enjoy, so check out the full schedule at www.crescentcitybluesfest.com.


Brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork and, of course, the famous Cochon de Lait - plus all the fixin's - they're all right here at Blues & BBQ. New Orleans has a slew of new barbecue restaurants, and we've got all of the top-rated ones, including Blue Oak, the Joint and Central City BBQ, plus many more. So come hungry and sample as many as you can. For the complete list of vendors and their menus, see here.


Vote for your favorite Blues & BBQ food item on Twitter or Instagram in our new social media barbecue contest. Each of our food vendors has a dish entered in the contest, with a hashtag posted at each booth to identify it. To vote for that dish, snap a picture of it and post to Instagram or Twitter (sorry, no voting via Facebook) and tag it with the hashtag. We'll announce the top vote-getters at the end of the festival. And don't forget to tag us with #bluesfestnola and follow all of our updates on InstagramTwitter and Facebook


As he has done for years, the artist John Bukaty will capture three of our performers onstage and render them in dynamic, impressionistic paintings. (See his take on Sonny Landreth at the 2013 festival here.) This year, Bukaty will paint during the performances by Bobby RushSamantha Fish and the Como Mamas. All of the works will be sold by a silent, online auction to benefit our free program the Heritage School of Music.  We'll also auction a beautiful G&L Telecaster-style guitar (donated, and decorated with a custom image of Bobby Rush, by Michael Gauf of Painted Axe) that will be autographed by all of the performers at this year's festival. NEW THIS YEAR: All of the auctions will be held online(and not onstage)To bid, visit www.BidPal.net/bluesfest, set up a user account and join the action. The auction will stay open until 5 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Oct. 31. You don't have to be at the festival - or even in New Orleans to bid. Thank you!


John Bukaty also painted the stunning image of Bobby Rush that graces the official poster of the 2017 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival. The poster, which measures 32 by 22 inches, comes in two versions - signed by Bukaty for $50, or signed by Bukaty and Bobby Rush for $125. You can get them at the festival in the Official Merchandise booth, or online here. All sales proceeds benefit our Heritage School of Music.


Once again we held a design contest to come up with the image for the official 2017 Blues & BBQ Festival t-shirt. This year's winner is Rafael Garcia, a 28-year-old self-taught graphic designer and illustrator from the Philippines. For more about the t-shirt design contest, see here. The t-shirt is not available online. It can only be found at the festival (at our Official Merchandise booth), and we always sell out, so get yours early!


Don't foget to stroll through our Arts Market, featuring 22 of the top crafts vendors in the region, selling photography, paintings, mixed media, wearable art and functional art for the home. For the complete list of Arts Market vendors, see here.


Don't let this keep you from coming to Lafayette Square, but if you absolutely cannot get there, our community radio station, WWOZ, will broadcast from our St. Charles Avenue Stage both on the radio and in live streaming video throughout the festival. Robert Cray, Bobby Rush, Robert Finley, Samantha Fish, the Como Mamas, John Mooney, Guitar Lightning Lee and Andrew Duhon all will be broadcast, so tune in at 90.7 FM or online at www.wwoz.org.


Our partners at Bike Easy, the nonprofit dedicated to promoting bicycle ridership in New Orleans, will be on hand to staff a free bicycle valet. So ride to the fest and park your bike on site - no worries!


The St. Charles Avenue streetcar (map) stops just one block from Lafayette Square. And the RTA's No. 11 Magazine Street bus (map) stops on Camp Street right in front of the festival. So take public transit and relax.


If you do drive, the parking lot at the Poydras Center (650 Poydras Street) has a parking lot that will offer all-day parking throughout the festival for a flat $10 fee. The entrance to the parking lot is on Camp Street. And there are several other lots in the area.


Admission to the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is free. But if you’re looking for that extra bit of comfort and style, we offer a very limited number of our exclusive VIP EXPERIENCE pass, which provides access to premium seating as well as indoor and outdoor hospitality areas with complimentary food and drink. For details, see here.


People who use wheelchairs are welcome at our events. We provide reserved areas for wheelchairs at both stages. And we have a special deck with views of both stages reserved for wheelchairs. There is an ADA drop-off area on Camp Street where vehicles carrying passengers with special needs may unload. All of our food booths will have serving counters at the ADA-compliant height of 32 inches. We also provide ADA-compliant toilets in all three of our locations for Port-O-Lets (at the corners of Camp and North Maestri streets, Camp Street and South Maestri streets, and St. Charles and South Maestri). The ADA toilets are kept locked for cleanliness; to access them, please visit our Foundation Information booth and we'll provide you with the key or combination, or ask any of the greeters who are seated at the donation boxes at six entry points around the park.


Due to the heavy use of camp chairs by many fans in close proximity to our stages, we are forced to institute a "no chairs" perimeter of 75 feet from both stages. We appreciate that many of you like to bring chairs to the festival and set up camp in front of the stages. But this prevents many of our other guests from having the opportunity to get a closer look at the onstage action. We thank you in advance for your understanding.


The City of New Orleans has a prohibition on smoking in public places  - which doesn't cover outdoor spaces in most of the city, but it does cover Lafayette Square. So, please, no smoking of cigarettes, cigars or pipes, and no vaping. Thank you.


We are all mindful of the tragedy at a music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. Our production team is doing everything possible, in coordination with many agencies of our local authorities, to keep the Blues & BBQ Festival safe. If there is an emergency of any kind, please immediately exit Lafayette Square via the closest corner of the park.


It's going to be a beautiful weekend. And don't worry about Sunday - we will be fine. And in any case all of our events go on rain or shine, so don't miss out on your chance to see Grammy-winner Bobby Rush close out the festival Sunday evening.


Like all of our events, the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is completely free and open to the public - part of the community investment made by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Please help us keep the fest safe and free by following these policies: 

  • Except for those with small children or dietary restrictions, please do not bring outside food or beverages to the event - no coolers are permitted.
  • We realize that Lafayette Square is usually open to pets. But for the safety and comfort of our large audience, we ask that you respect your neighbors and leave your companion animals at home (except for service animals, of course). Thank you.


Please note that we will post donation boxes at all of the entrances to the park - your donations are most welcome and help us to offset our (very significant) costs in producing this free event. If you would like to support the Foundation and help keep this event free, please make the tax-deductible contribution of your choice here.


The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, which gratefully recognizes these event co-sponsors:

Abita Brewing Co.
Southern Comfort
Louisiana Lottery
ArtWorks | The National Endowment for the Arts
State Farm
VL Group
The New Orleans Advocate
Louisiana Division of the Arts | Office of Cultural Development
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.
Peoples Health

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. For more on what we do, please visit us online at www.jazzandheritage.org.

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