Where: Armstrong Park
When: March 3-4. 2108
In the days before the Emancipation Proclamation, the only place enslaved Africans and free people of color were permitted to gather to practice their ancestoral drumming and dancing was Congo Square on Sundays. It was here that jazz, the only true American artform, was born. And it is here, every spring, that we gather to celebrate and remember at the Congo Square Rhythms Festival, an immersive experience with live music, an amazing arts market and tantalizing soul food.
Here's your chance to spy Mardi Gras Indians, enjoy traditional African dances, and dance along with New Orleans' favorite brass bands and players of jazz, soul-funk, Latin jazz and West African highlife music.
Highlights of the festival include the annual Mardi Gras Indian “battle” where tribes from different neighborhoods gather in the middle of the square for a show of cultural unity. Then there's the Class Got Brass competition where middle and high school students are encouraged to form traditional New Orleans brass bands and perform for an all-star panel of judges for a top prize of $10,000.
If you come to these things for the food, you won't be disappointed either. At the Soul Food Court, you'll find a tummy-tempting mix of classic New Orleans dishes as well as delicious foods from the Caribbean. There's also an Arts Market with more than two dozen vendors and a fun Kids Area where the little ones can do their thing.
The Congo Square Rhythms Festival is produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. View the entertainment line-up and learn more about their mission here.
Photo credit: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation
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