NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — If you’re a fan of world music, listen up! Years ago, the International Arts Festival was once known as Reggae Riddims, then held in Marconi Meadows. This weekend, the festival is back for the first time since 2019 with a new name, a new home, and some of the biggest names in reggae.

“Before Katrina, we did our festival in June,” festival producers Ernest Kelly told WGNO’s LBJ. “Biggest one yet, we had 15 countries represented.”

Beginning Friday (Sept. 30), a triumphant return is marked with music from around the globe, kicking off with a performance from jazz master Donald Harrison Jr. at the Orpheum Theater.

“He’s everything that New Orleans wants to represent them through culture and music,” Kelly added.

The weekend then shifts to an international affair outdoors at Crescent Park, headlined by reggae legends Steel Pulse and Third World. Kelly has produced concerts around the world and sees this weekend as an experience not to miss.

“We have artists from Ghana, we have artists from Cuba, we also have an artist from India that’s going to surprise people as well. What we call this is ” said Kelly.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: International Arts Festival

Event Details

  • Runs from Friday, Sept. 30 to October 2
  • Kicks off at the Orpheum Theater with the IAF: Celebration of Jazz Concert

Performances

  • African Drum Circle – Congo Square Society
  • Reggae Icons Steel Pulse (UK)
  • Reggae Ambassadors by Third World (Jamaica) 
  • A carnival experience featuring Trinidadian Soca music stars Bunji Garlin and Nailah Blackman. 
  • US-based Pieces of Dream
  • Ernie Smith, Jazz/Gospel South African star 
  • Cyril Neville from the iconic Neville Brothers 
  • Marion Meadows 
  • Russell Batiste and Friends (New Orleans)
  • Alexey Marti/Cuban Musician 
  • New Orleans Brass Bands

Festival Elements

  • IAF Nola Celebration of Jazz Concert: New Orleans Jazz Master, Donald Harrison Jr., and Julian Vaughn
  • Outdoor concert at Mandeville Wharf, Crescent Park: Various Artists
  • International Art Gallery: A mini village dedicated to selling local & International fine art. The village will also host live panel discussions.
  • Food and International Wine & Drink Stations: A hodgepodge of kiosks showcasing global cuisines from around the world with a special focus on New Orleans restaurants and chefs.
  • Pan African business networking and Idea exchange
  • Social Media Broadcast Booth: This station will embrace technology while allowing fans to interact with music and entertainment products. Social Media broadcast sessions will be afforded to both performers and festival participants

Where to buy tickets

Tickets are now available for sale. Click here to get yours. To learn more about the festival, click here to visit the event website.

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