Playing For Change Festival

North Peters Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116, United States

(914) 837-8181

Music Schedule

11:00 Tom McDermott

Tom is known for his eclecticism, and is just about the only New Orleans pianist to stretch from the mid-19th-century music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to the funky New Orleans piano today. He has a great love of Brazilian music (17 trips there so far), the Beatles, European classical music, early Duke Ellington, and much more. 

12:00 Vasti Jackson

Vasti Jackson is a force to be reckoned with in the world of the Blues.  As an artist, Vasti is known for sweat-drenched, soul-ripping performances marked by some of the most stunning and innovative guitar playing in Blues today.  Always on the move, Vasti's firey guitar work and stellar vocals leave a lasting impression on all that are lucky enough to see him. Marc Stone - Off Beat

2:00 The Iguanas

What  if Americana actually encompassed ALL of North America? You'd have the  Franco Acadian inflections of Canada, as best exemplified by the  accordion, blues and jazz, the only truly indigenous music the US has  ever produced, and the lilting grace and fiery passion of the music of  Mexico. You'd also have New Orleans' premiere distillers of this  continental musical melange, The Iguanas.

3:30 Alex McMurray

 A New Orleans fixture since the ‘80s, this guitar slinger is now widely recognized as the embodiment of the downtown New  Orleans lifestyle: sketchy bars, cracked sidewalks, fallen-down houses,  tattered hearts, broken spirits, and discarded chicken bones.  


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We Need You To Produce This Event!


This event is being produced by individuals donors as well as our sponsors.

We have a Go Fund Me page that you can use to help us with the cost of producing this event.

In order to bring you this line up of some of the finest artists that New Orleans and the surrounding area have to offer, we are raising funds from both sponsors and individual donors.

Anything that you can contribute will help us make this the great event that it is going to be.

We can't do this without you. Please help us with our production costs. Please attend our event so that we can make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

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About Us

We Are Here for the Music. We are Here for the World


Playing For Change is a Worldwide Project. Join us for a day of music in support of music education worldwide. Music Festival in New Orleans Playing For Change Day Festival at the French Market Music Pavilion (In case of rain, the New Orleans National Historic Park).

Our Projects

Bizung School of Music and Dance, Tamale Ghana


 The Bizung School of Music & Dance is located in Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana.  The school offers music and dance classes that are rooted in the traditional style of Northern Ghana. Children have a safe and nurturing environment in which to learn, as well as opportunities to share their cultural and musical traditions with other children around the world.

Mirpur Music Program, Bangladesh


 Since January 2015, the Playing For Change Foundation has been working in the slums of Mirpur District of Dhaka, Bangladesh, to provide music education to underprivileged children. In this district, 32% of residents live below the national poverty line of $2 per day and child malnutrition rates are 48%. Illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world.  

Mitrata Music Program, Kathmandu Nepal


 Mitrata means friendship in Nepali. It’s a word that epitomizes the meaning of love, care and support.  Most children residing at Mitrata were either abandoned or rescued from troubled homes. T here are four dynamic music classes and one visual art class taught every Saturday morning. The children are very fortunate as the teaching staff is first rate. Sarangi, flute, madal drums, traditional Nepali dance and art classes are taught.

L'Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali


 L'Ecole de musique de Kirina offers a dynamic music and dance program to 200 students.  The music school offers classes in kora, djembe, balafon, dance and tama.  We introduced language classes in French and English as well as an evening class program where teachers from the public school are coming each week to the music school to give extra lessons in English, French, and Sciences.  

Imvula Music Schools Gugulethu,South Africa


The first Playing For Change Foundation music school, which was located in the South African township of Gugulethu, has expanded to multiple locations in the area. 

The program brings music education into the lives of even more children and a more diverse group of children, and provides a larger, more efficient space for classes.

Students are learning marimba, vocals, drums, saxophone and keyboard/piano as well as dance. 

Star School Music and Sports Masaka, Rwanda


In 2013, The Playing For Change Foundation established a long-term partnership with Star School, which is located in Masaka, just outside the capital of Kigali. Star School instructs over 700 children in its nursery, primary, and secondary schools.  The school grounds include dormitories, a library, computer room, farm, greenhouse, and science laboratory. There is also a “football” (soccer) field, volleyball court, and basketball court. 



In 2007, we traveled to the remote village of Tintale in Nepal's eastern valley Udayapur district. At that time the place had no electricity, no telephones, and no modern sanitation. The people of Tintale had lived and worked in almost complete isolation from the outside world for centuries.

We were honored to be able to make a contribution to the community by initiating a music program with two teaching locations.

Local Tintale village schoolteachers teach harmonium, madal and dance classes on girl enrollment. In nearby Katari, We instruct children on how to play the harmonium,drum and guitar.

Our efforts provide classroom space and brand-new music instruments for the students as well as humanitarian aid in Tintale village. 



 This collective of powerful women utilize artistic expression to teach young girls about the perils they face from dark-hearted traffickers. Locals tell us all too many villagers are surprisingly unaware of this tragedy in their midst. Through creative storytelling and mesmerizing song and dance, the audience is introduced to trafficker’s techniques enabling them to recognize the potential threat when introduced to their village. “There is no question this basic education saves lives,” one member states firmly.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International report most occurrences happen right here in the southeastern Terai region. Young girls and women are easily trafficked because of their low cultural status. It is estimated that 10,000 girls, between the ages of 9-16, are trafficked each year from Nepal to India. This group is deeply committed to saving children from this tragic fate through education. PFCF’s support enables them to make costumes for the performances as well as provides travel expenses to neighboring villages to help spread the word.



 Our school in the Khlong Toey slum provides a safe and uplifting space where self-esteem can strengthen and creativity flourish through weekly music lessons, rehearsals and regular performances. The program instills a sense of hope, self-worth and cross-cultural awareness in children who come from challenging circumstances.

Volunteer instructors currently teach private or small group lessons in guitar, ukulele, bass, keys, drums and voice on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Flute and other instruments are also sometimes taught. Saturday afternoons are devoted mainly to rehearsals for KTMP’s two bands, one for the younger students and another for those with more experience. The atmosphere is relaxed, but lessons and rehearsals are taken seriously.

MUSICA MUSIC INSTITUTE Latipur, Kathmandu, Nepal


The music program that began in Hari Kul's humble drum shop in Lalitpur has expanded into the newly-founded Musica Music Institute. The new, expanded program, established by brothers Dinesh and Mahesh Nakarmi, has access to computers, the ability to introduce recording classes and is hosting public performances so the students can showcase what they’ve learned.

The program, located in Laliptur District, Nepal, is led by seven talented teachers, including former Hari Kul student, Lama Maya. Over forty students attend music classes in vocals, keyboard, guitar and drums.

The Musica Music Institute is already establishing itself as a source of inspiration and creative expression for Nepali youth. We’re excited about the new possibilities this program will bring



 Located in the Sahara desert, in the small oasis town of M’hamid El Ghizlane, this new music program is focusing on preserving valuable ancestral cultural knowledge, and provides music education to the youth in this remote area of Morocco. The Joudour Sahara Music School is an ambitious project, that includes the construction of facilities embedded in this beautiful natural environment. 

CAJURU MUSIC PROGRAM Escola Playing For Change, Curitiba - Brazil


The starting point of this new new music program has been a outstanding benefit concert hosted at the Opera de Arame in Curitiba, in October 2014, that allowed us to raise a consistent amount of money to start the project. The music program is being hosted at a facility owned by the community of neighbours in Cajuru on which we've been doing structural and sound proofing works in order to welcome the music program in good conditions.

Free music and English lessons for the youth in the area are being held 3 times a week for now, and the main focus of the music classes is currently what we call "musicalization" which is basically a general introduction to music adapted to a young audience.



The Playing For Change Foundation has now its own branch in Argentina with a fantastic team of people committed to , through an agreement with the local municipality, which provides facilities  in 4 peripheral neighborhoods of the city and in rformed one of its most amazing shows, in Buenos Aires, in front of 8000 people. This concert was the result of the great work from our Argentinian team.

The program in Patagonia is currently carrying out musical and art workshops in 2 nearby locations: in Cinco Saltos, through an agreement with the local municipality, which provides facilities  in 4 peripheral neighbourhoods of the city and in General Roca, where music workshops for young disabled are being held every week. Over 100 young kids attend are now benefiting from this grass-root educational initiative. We have also started a partnership with the IUPA ( Instituto Universitario Patagónico de las Artes ) in order to reach more students in the area, as well as connexions with the PFC programs in Argentina and around the world. 

Dance, traditional music, hip hop, graphic arts, instruments making, Mapuche language, as well as English classes form a diverse curriculum coordinated by Jorge Amaolo, Gloria Ovejero and David Galdame.



 Musical Arts Centre (Centro de Artes Musicales) is the home base to OBC (Orchestra of Baja California), a space designed to train professional musicians and to produce diverse multidisciplinary artistic productions. Built in 2010, CAM holds many artistic and educational programs that promote the dissemination of music in diverse genres. Located in the city of Tijuana, Mexico’s border region to the USA, the Musical Arts Centre takes advantage of this neighborhood and the long musical tradition of the institution, to meet the demands of a multicultural and knowledgeable public.

Baja Musical Arts Initiative (BMAI) was founded in 2012 as a nonprofit based in New York City, whose mission is to improve the lives of children and young adults in New York City and Mexico through musical education and performances. Inspired on its parent program in Mexico - Redes 2025 (Networks 2025), BMAI has now created Redes USA in New York City to provide intensive programming, free-of-cost, to young people as a strategy to transform their lives instilling values such as team work, responsibility, discipline and respect. 


BMAI has always looked up to initiatives, who have paved the way in the musical education field and media scope. The Playing For Change Foundation has been a prominent example of such labor. It is a great joy and hope that we join efforts in this educational, community, social and musical movement.

PFC Diamante, Argentina Diamante, Entre-Rios, Argentina


Inaugurated in 2017, this new music program is located in the city of Diamante, 350km (220 miles) north-west of Buenos Aires and  hosted at the premises of the Marconi theatre, a 100 years old building in the city, heritage of the Diamante’s Italian Society.

Although the city is a seedbed for musicians, it didn't have a space or a center where traditional music is being taught for free and dedicated to transmit the rich musical knowledge of the region. The program is open 3 days a week for children and teenagers between 7 and 18 years old and focuses on instruments such as guitar, percussion, accordion and singing lessons as well as traditional musical genders such as chamamé,  chamarrita and  guarania among others.

Beyond the music program happening on a regular base, we are working on developing a series of music workshops as well as engaging the youth of Diamante in our multimedia team in order to share the evolution of the music program  and include multimedia production as part  of our Curriculum. 

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New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

916 North Peters Street / Dutch Alley New Orleans, Louisiana 70116, United States

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