2019 Congo Square Rhythms Festival

Nov 16–17, 2019
701 N. Rampart Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Admission: Free


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The 12th Annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival
November 16-17, 2019

Mardi Gras Indians, African dance, brass bands, luscious jazz, soul-funk, Latin jazz and West African highlife – all these are in store for music fans at the 12th annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival, presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation November 16-17 in Armstrong Park.  Celebrating the New Orleans traditions that spring from the African diaspora, the Congo Square Rhythms Festival brings a joyful noise to the spot that those in the know consider the birthplace of American music. 

New: Congo Square Rhythms Festival and Treme Creole Gumbo Festival will combine forces TOGETHER on one weekend!

This fall, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation will present two of its popular festivals on one weekend  - Treme Creole Gumbo Festival and Congo Square Rhythms Festival. The festivals will take place Saturday, November 16th and Sunday, November 17th in Congo Square and Louis Armstrong Park.  Admission is still free and open to the public. There will be two stages of music celebrating the New Orleans traditions that spring from the African diaspora: jazz, funk, contemporary and traditional brass band, gospel and rhythm & blues!  African drumming and dance will be a continued highlight at Congo Square Rhythms Festival, as well as, the annual Mardi Gras Indian “battle” – with tribes from various neighborhoods. 

Beyond the music is the food and art!

There will be two food courts, each offering a mix of classic New Orleans cuisine. We’ll, of course, have a smorgasboard of New Orleans’ signature dishes: different varieties of gumbo, red beans and rice, crabmeat beignets, deep fried bell peppers, jambalaya, poboys, fresh produce, seafood, and more! Click here to view festival menus and a list of vendors.

We will have two art markets. The Congo Square Market will feature art, crafts, jewelry, locally produced bath and beauty products, and imported items from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

The Treme Market will feature original local art, crafts, jewelry and unique handmade items.

The festivals are our way of paying tribute to our ancestors and our cultural traditions through food, music, drumming and dance. 

By bringing these two festivals together, we are hoping to make a bigger impact on our city. The complete schedule of events is available below.


Saturday, Nov. 16
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.   Drum Circle 
11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.   Harbinger Project
12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.   Glenn Hall & Backatown
2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.   Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet
3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.   Big Sam's Funky Nation
5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.   Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.   Soul Rebels
Sunday, Nov. 17 
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.   Drum Circle
12:00 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.   African Dance
12:00 p.m. to 12:10 p.m.   Tekrema
12:15 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.   N'Kafu & Culu
12:35 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.   Kumbuka African Dance & Drum Collective
12:55 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.   N'Fungola Sibo
1:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.   Chakra Dance Theatre
1:35 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.   Seguenon Kone
2:00 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.   Garifuna
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.   Bamboula 2000
3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.   Mardi Gras Indian Battle
4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.   Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr & the Wild Magnolias


Saturday, Nov. 16
11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.   Red Hot Brass Band
12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.   Cole Williams Band
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.   James Andrews & the Crescent City All-Stars
3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.   Big Six Brass Band
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.   Charmaine Neville Band
5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.   Tonya Boyd Cannon
Sunday, Nov. 17 
11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.   LPO Brass Band
12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m   Free Agents Brass Band
2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.   Treme Brass Band
3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.   Hot 8 Brass Band
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m   Pinettes Brass Band
6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.   Rebirth Brass Band

Bamboula Dancers

Starting in the 18th century and lasting for well over 100 years, Congo Square (or Place Congo) was where enslaved Africans were permitted to gather on Sundays – enabling them to carry on their ancestral traditions of drumming and dance. It was also a gathering place and market, quite famous around the world, which since 1993 has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is arguably the location where African culture was implanted in the New World, influencing all of the jazz, gospel, blues and rock that put New Orleans on the map of the world’s most musically important cities.

The Congo Square Rhythms Festival combines live music, a large arts market and a Soul Food Court with special events to create a uniquely immersive experience.

Our annual Mardi Gras Indian “battle” is always a favorite – with tribes from various neighborhoods gathering in the center of the square for a show of cultural unity



New Orleans Soul Food
We’ll have five great food vendors – including recent graduates of our Catapult Fund business accelerator program - offering a mix of classic New Orleans dishes and food from the Caribbean A current list of vendors is available here.

Arts Market
If you’re looking for beautiful, hand-made artworks and crafts by local artisans, be sure to check out our arts market. We’ll have more than two dozen vendors, offering fine art, photography, jewelry, clothing and housewares. A current list of vendors is available here.

Kids Activities
This year, we're ramping up our Kids Area with lots of new activities, games and entertainment for the young ones.

Besides street parking, parking is available for a fee at Basin Street Station, 501 Basin Street. Parking is also available in the Mahalia Jackson Theatre parking lot.

Bike Valet
Our friends at Bike Easy, which promoted bicycle ridership in the city, will organize a free bike valet – so you can ride to the festival and stash your wheels easily and safely.

Blue Bikes
Thanks to a partnership with Blue Bikes, the Congo Square Rhythms Festival and Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival are easier to attend than ever! From November 16-17, Blue Bikes is offering a promo for festival guests. To take advantage of this great deal, download the Social Bicycles app (iTunes App Store & Google Play) available for Android and Apple devices or Create an online account at bluebikesnola.com. Select the Blue Bikes New Orleans network and sign-up for the Pay As You Go plan. Enter promo code [GUMBO2019] when prompted and press “Apply.” Confirm that an account credit has been applied before completing the registration. Once your account is created, simply enter your account number and PIN on any available bike to start riding. 

ADA Accessibility
For our guests who use wheelchairs, we will have a number of accommodations.

We will have wheelchair drop-off areas on Rampart Street (at the St. Ann Street Gate) and also in the parking lot near the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts (enter via the Basin Street Gate).

Our wheelchair-accessible toilets will be kept locked for your comfort. To obtain the key or combination for the locks, please visit any of our information booths located at the park entrances, or check with the staff at our official T-Shirt Booth.

All of our food booths will have counter heights of no more than 32 inches. And we will have an area reserved only for wheelchairs near the sound booth in front of the stage.

Keep The Festival Safe and Free: No Outside Food, Beverages or Pets
Like all of our events, the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival is completely free and open to the public - part of the community investment made by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Donations, however, are gratefully accepted. If you would like to support the Foundation and help keep this event free, please make the tax-deductible contribution of your choice here.

PLEASE: 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 Armstrong Park 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. Thank you.

The Congo Square Rhythms Festival is produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, 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 www.jazzandheritage.org.

This program is supported in part by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans.


Click the links below to download documents.

Congo Square Rhythms & Treme Creole Gumbo Festival Vendors

Congo Square Rhythms Festival Menu

Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival Menu

Congo Square Rhythms Festival Archive:

2018's Line-up and Festival Details
2017's Line-up and Festival Details
2016's Line-up and Festival Details
2015's Line-up and Festival Details
2014's Line-up and Festival Details
2013's Line-up and Festival Details
2012's Line-up and Festival Details
2010's Line-up and Festival Details
2009's Line-up and Festival Details

Check out what else we do.

2019 Congo Square Rhythms Festival gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors:

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.