Modified phase three means live music is making a comeback.
Live music is New Orleans’ heart, soul, and calling card. Thanks to COVID restrictions easing up, more venues are opening every week, and live music is back into our lives, at both indoor and outdoor venues. Here are a few highlights of what’s coming up in the first half of June. But first, let’s take a quick look at the current reopening regulations.
COVID Restrictions Easing Up
As of late May 2021, New Orleans is in a Modified Phase Three of its reopening plan. This means that wearing masks/face coverings is no longer mandatory in Orleans Parish for fully vaccinated people, with few exceptions like on public transit and in city government buildings, hospitals and nursing homes, and K-12 schools. Unvaccinated people are urged to still mask and social distance.
There are no travel restrictions or quarantine requirements for people entering Louisiana, which means we should expect a healthy influx of visitors. So far, indoor gatherings are limited to 250 people, and outdoor to 500 people.
How New Orleans Music Venues Are Affected
So, what do the new regulations (or lack thereof) mean for the music scene? Only good news. Live music and entertainment are now allowed at bars, restaurants, concert halls, music halls, and performance and event venues with a special event permit such as breweries and hotel lounges — as long as they follow the capacity limits based on the business type and any additional safety guidelines, like proper ventilation. Second lines and parades are back on, as are some festivals that canceled or rescheduled last year.
As of May 2021, quite a few of the most beloved and popular music venues have reopened their doors, and more are doing so every week. Note the new venue on Frenchmen Street: The iconic DBA now has an open-air, outdoor venue across the street from the original building. DBA at Palace Market opened in late May and will host ticketed seated concerts.
For a comprehensive, up-to-date live music schedule, please see WWOZ’s Livewire Music Calendar.
Visit your local record store for the scoop on live music events.
Though plans could change any day, festival organizers are still scheduling and holding events. Many festivals typically held in the spring, like French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest, have moved to the fall. Others postponed and relocated, like Hogs for the Cause. Yet others, like the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, are moving forward with their usual dates. Of course, all must comply with coronavirus restrictions and be ready to make modifications as necessary.
Curry With a Flavor — Canceled in 2020, the Caribbean fest is back on June 5, at Crescent Park, off N. Peters Street.
Faubourg Pride Fest — On the weekend of June 4-6, Faubourg Brewing Co. will host happy hours, drag performances, and live music in partnership with Louisiana's LGBTQ human rights organization, Forum for Equality. This is a free outdoor event with beer, food, and merch for sale. Live music will include a Neville brothers tribute and John Boutté.
Hogs for the Cause — The annual charity barbecue festival and competition usually held at the UNO Lakefront Arena has been scheduled for June 4 and 5 at the outdoor, 15-acre Plaquemines Parish Government Facility in Belle Chasse. Ticket sales are limited to 25 percent of the venue’s capacity.
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) — This annual extravaganza for the foodies and wine enthusiasts will proceed with its usual mid-June dates, June 9-13. The event will take place at various restaurants and hotels across the city, and will follow capacity guidelines accordingly. As every year, the NOWFE will include in-person wine tastings, dining experiences, and a Sunday burlesque brunch.
These are just a few events we're excited about, and we'd love to hear what music events and festivals you're looking forward to attending in June, too. Stop by the Mushroom any day between 10 a.m. and midnight to chat with us, browse the latest records, or deliver some flyers about an upcoming show.