Essence Fest kicks off Friday, July 5, bringing a slew of performing artists (including Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, and Big Freedia) to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, not to mention countless parties, pop-ups, and premieres. But if you want to celebrate sooner—or if you’re trying to save money—you can find free concerts taking place across New Orleans on the Fourth of July. Read on if you like your fireworks served with a side of live music.
1. Sephora (414 N. Peters Street)
A Paris-based makeup mecca may seem like an unlikely candidate for a music venue, but don’t be fooled—Sephora knows how to throw a party. Contemporary jazz band Cool Nast plays at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 4, and New Orleans native Teedra Moses performs at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 6. In the interim, you’ll find interactive art installations and special giveaways at the beauty behemoth.
2. Frederick J Sigur Civic Center (8245 W Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette)
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, you can catch the 35th Annual St. Bernard Salutes America Celebration. The celebration will have food, drinks, live entertainment, kids’ activities, and a fireworks display. Admission is free.
3. City Park (1 Palm Drive)
The park hosts its free “Happy 3rd of July” party with The Marine Corps Band on the Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn and fireworks at the Peristyle. Concessions, sno-balls, wine, and beer will be available for purchase, or you can bring your own picnic. The fun starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.
4. Lafreniere Park (3000 Downs Boulevard, Metairie)
The annual Uncle Sam Jam includes live music from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, and the fireworks start at 9 p.m. Amanda Shaw, 10,000 Maniacs, The Topcats, and THE ORCHESTRA starring ELO former members headline.
5. The National WWII Museum (945 Magazine Street)
From 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4, the New Orleans Concert Band presents a free performance of patriotic songs, classical pieces, and show tunes at The National WWII Museum U.S. Freedom Pavillion.
6. Crescent Park (Crescent Park Trail)
The Fourth of July celebration at this linear riverfront park includes performances by The National WWII Museum’s Victory Belles at 5:30 p.m. and MoJeaux at 7 p.m. Dogs, outside food and drinks, as well as blankets and chairs are welcome.