New Orleans, LA

Jazzfest-Bound: Should I Go To New Orleans?

Dancing at the fais do do stagePaul Broussard

If you love jazz music, New Orleans is the place to be this month. The city's legendary Jazz Fest is in full swing, and it's time to make your travel plans. But before you book that ticket, you might want to read on for some advice about what to expect from one of the most celebrated festivals in the world.

You love jazz music: If you love jazz music, then this is a no-brainer. You'll get to see your favorite artists perform right in front of you, and will likely run into other fans who share your passion for the genre. If that's not enough, there are also plenty of vendors selling food and drinks at reasonable prices (not to mention those crazy hats!)

Jazz Fest is held every year at the end of April and the beginning of May. The festival takes place over two weekends at the Fair Grounds Race Course, which has been hosting this event since 1970. Each year features a different lineup of musicians, but you can expect to see acts like Lionel Richie, Ziggy Marley, and Busta Rhymes performing live on stage throughout both weekends.

The festival itself has grown significantly over its five decades as one of New Orleans' biggest events. In fact, after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of downtown New Orleans in 2005, Jazz Fest was held twice during 2006—once at an arena on campus at Tulane University and again at the Superdome (which had been closed due to flooding). This year will mark its 40th anniversary!

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a festival that has been celebrated every year since the 1970s. It celebrates the music, arts, culture and heritage of New Orleans. After Jazz Fest was cancelled because of COVID-19, it returned in 2022.

The Lineup:

Since its 1981 debut, the Festival has showcased an eclectic mix of both Louisiana and national artists. In 2022, internationally renowned performers will fill the stages during two weekends at multiple locations across New Orleans.

Major performers include:

  • Lionel Richie
  • The Who
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Jimmy Buffet & the Coral Reefer Band
  • Luke Combs
  • Busta Rhymes
  • The Black Crowes
  • Willie Nelson
  • Erykah Badu
  • The Avett Brothers
  • Norah Jones
  • Lauren Daigle
  • Billy Strings
  • Nelly
  • Kool & the Gang
  • Elvis Costello & the Imposters
  • The Revivalists

...and so much more!

The Louisiana Heritage Festival was founded by music promoter George Wein. His idea was to create a daytime fair with several stages showcasing the state's musical styles, food, arts and crafts, and evening concerts.

The first Jazz Fest was held in Congo Square in April 1970. The lineup included Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Pete Fountain, the Preservation Hall Brass Band, Mardi Gras Indians and many other big names. The first event attracted about 350 people but that number has skyrocketed over time.

In addition to featuring local music, food and artisans, each festival has also included a variety of educational programs and special events such as cooking demonstrations and lectures by authors like Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harry Crews.

The festival has grown over the years to become one of the largest cultural events in Louisiana with attendance reaching more than 100,000 people annually

Visitors enjoy the Louisiana Heritage Festival for its diverse offerings of food and drink from all over the state. There are also craft vendors selling their wares as well as artisans displaying their work. Children can enjoy rides such as bumper cars, merry-go-rounds and kiddie trains while adults can enjoy live music on one of the stages throughout the park.

Some tips:

  1. If it's not already on your bucket list, add New Orleans to the list of places you want to visit someday. The city is so rich in culture and history that it's worth the trip even if you don't attend Jazzfest—but if you do decide to make an appearance during this time period, then you'll have an extra reason for going!
  2. If you're travelling from out of town, make sure there are hotels available near where all the action will be happening so that you don't have to worry about getting back home at night or waking up early enough in the morning so that everyone else can get ready without having to worry about transportation issues first thing in the morning!

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