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When Is New Orleans Jazz Fest When Is New Orleans Jazz Fest


When Is New Orleans Jazz Fest

Written by: Olga Drumm

Discover the dates for the renowned New Orleans Jazz Fest and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Jazz. Experience the soulful music and infectious energy at this iconic festival.

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Table of Contents


Welcome to the vibrant world of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, a celebration of music, culture, and heritage like no other. Steeped in history and brimming with soul, this annual extravaganza captures the essence of the birthplace of jazz and showcases a diverse lineup of incredible talent. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado, a food lover, or an explorer of cultural exhibits, the New Orleans Jazz Fest has something for everyone.

Often referred to as the “Jazz and Heritage Festival,” this iconic event has been captivating audiences since its inception in 1970. It originated as an effort to revive and appreciate the unique musical traditions of New Orleans, which gave birth to jazz music. Today, it has grown into a multi-weekend celebration that attracts music lovers from around the globe.

But the Jazz Fest is more than just a music festival. It’s a melting pot of cultures, a feast for the senses where the tantalizing aromas of Creole and Cajun cuisine waft through the air, enticing visitors with the promise of gastronomic bliss. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of New Orleans through captivating exhibits and art installations.

From the moment you step foot on the festival grounds, you’ll be transported to a world where music fills the air, where people come together to celebrate their shared love for jazz and the vibrant spirit of New Orleans. So, let’s dive into the heart and soul of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and explore the captivating experiences that await you in this musical haven.


History of New Orleans Jazz Fest

The New Orleans Jazz Fest has a storied history that dates back to 1970 when it was first held at Congo Square in the historic Tremé neighborhood. Founded by George Wein, a renowned jazz producer and promoter, the festival aimed to celebrate the unique music and culture of New Orleans.

From its humble beginnings, the Jazz Fest quickly gained popularity and recognition, drawing in larger crowds with each passing year. The festival’s success can be attributed to its commitment to showcasing the rich musical heritage of New Orleans. Jazz, blues, gospel, R&B, Cajun, and zydeco, among other genres, are all given a rightful place on the festival’s stages.

Over the years, the festival expanded its scope, not only featuring local acts but also bringing in renowned national and international artists. This fusion of talent created a melting pot of musical styles and genres, making the Jazz Fest a truly unique and diverse event.

What sets the New Orleans Jazz Fest apart from other music festivals is its deep-rooted connection to the city’s cultural history. In addition to the music, the festival showcases the vibrant culture and traditions of New Orleans through various exhibits, demonstrations, and workshops.

One of the festival’s standout features is the Cultural Exchange Pavilion, where visitors can learn about and experience different cultures from around the world. This cultural immersion adds an extra layer of depth to the festival, creating an environment where music, food, and traditions intertwine.

Throughout its history, the Jazz Fest has faced numerous challenges, including the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Despite the adversity, the festival persevered and became a symbol of hope and resilience for the city of New Orleans. The return of the Jazz Fest after the hurricane was a testament to the enduring spirit of the city and its commitment to preserving its cultural legacy.

Today, the New Orleans Jazz Fest continues to thrive, attracting over half a million attendees each year. It remains an essential cultural event that pays homage to the city’s rich musical heritage while embracing new sounds and artists. With its vibrant and diverse lineup, the Jazz Fest stands as a testament to the enduring power of music and its ability to bring people together in celebration of life and culture.


Music Lineup

The music lineup at the New Orleans Jazz Fest is a treasure trove for music enthusiasts. Spanning multiple stages and genres, the festival showcases an eclectic mix of established artists, up-and-coming talent, and local legends. From jazz and blues to funk, soul, and rock, there’s something for every musical taste.

At the heart of the Jazz Fest’s music lineup is jazz, the genre that gave birth to this iconic cultural event. Renowned jazz musicians from around the world grace the stages, delivering mesmerizing performances that pay homage to the roots of the festival. Be prepared to be transported back in time as you sway to the irresistible rhythms and improvisational brilliance of jazz.

But the music at the Jazz Fest is not limited to jazz alone. The festival also features a diverse range of genres that reflect the cultural melting pot that is New Orleans. From the soulful sounds of rhythm and blues to the infectious energy of zydeco and the foot-stomping beats of Cajun music, there are endless opportunities to explore and discover new musical horizons.

Each day of the festival brings a new lineup of artists, ensuring a fresh and exciting experience for attendees. Whether you’re a fan of iconic musicians or eager to discover emerging talent, the Jazz Fest promises to deliver unforgettable performances. From household names to hidden gems, you never know who might take the stage next.

In addition to the main stages, the festival also features intimate performances in the Jazz Tent and various smaller stages scattered throughout the grounds. These smaller venues offer a more intimate setting where you can get up close and personal with the musicians, witnessing their incredible skills and experiencing the magic of live music in an intimate atmosphere.

One of the highlights of the music lineup is the annual tribute performances that honor legendary musicians and pay homage to the history of the festival. These special shows bring together an all-star lineup of musicians who come together to celebrate the contributions of jazz and music pioneers.

Whether you’re a jazz purist, a lover of blues and soul, or someone eager to explore new sounds, the New Orleans Jazz Fest music lineup promises to captivate and inspire. Prepare to be swept away by the power and beauty of live music as you immerse yourself in the soul-stirring melodies and infectious rhythms that fill the festival grounds.


Food and Drink

The New Orleans Jazz Fest not only tantalizes your ears with incredible music but also treats your taste buds to a flavorful journey through the city’s renowned culinary scene. From Creole classics to authentic Cajun dishes, the festival offers a mouthwatering array of food options that reflect the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans.

As you stroll through the festival grounds, you’ll be greeted by the enticing aroma of Cajun and Creole spices wafting through the air. Traditional dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée are just a few of the delectable choices that await you. These dishes, deeply rooted in Louisiana’s culinary history, are bursting with flavors that will leave you craving for more.

But the food options at the Jazz Fest go beyond savory delights. Indulge your sweet tooth with a slice of classic pecan pie, a fluffy beignet topped with powdered sugar, or a refreshing sno-ball on a hot day. The festival gives you the chance to satisfy all your cravings, from savory to sweet, with a wide variety of food vendors offering delectable treats.

Don’t forget to pair your delicious food with a refreshing drink. The Jazz Fest offers a diverse selection of beverages to quench your thirst. Enjoy a cold beer from one of the many local breweries, sip on a fruity cocktail, or cool down with a freshly squeezed lemonade. And for those who want to fully immerse themselves in the New Orleans experience, don’t miss out on trying a classic Hurricane, a rum-based cocktail that is synonymous with the city’s vibrant nightlife.

What sets the food and drink experience at the Jazz Fest apart is the emphasis on local vendors and flavors. Many of the food stands and booths are operated by local restaurants and chefs, allowing visitors to savor authentic dishes that showcase the unique culinary traditions of New Orleans.

Furthermore, the festival is committed to promoting sustainable practices and supporting local farmers and artisans. You’ll find a wide range of organic and locally-sourced ingredients incorporated into the dishes, ensuring a fresh and high-quality dining experience.

So, when you attend the New Orleans Jazz Fest, come with an empty stomach and an open mind. Allow yourself to indulge in the vibrant flavors and rich culinary traditions that make this festival a feast for all the senses.


Cultural Exhibits

At the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the celebration of culture goes beyond music and food. The festival features a captivating array of cultural exhibits that offer a glimpse into the vibrant history and traditions of New Orleans and the surrounding region.

One of the highlights of the cultural exhibits is the African Marketplace. Here, you can explore the African diaspora and its profound influence on the culture of New Orleans. From art and crafts to traditional clothing and accessories, the marketplace offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of African cultures that have helped shape the city’s identity.

The Heritage Square is another must-visit area. This interactive exhibit showcases the diverse cultural heritage of Louisiana, featuring demonstrations of traditional crafts, music, and dance. Here, you can witness firsthand the intricate art of basket-weaving, the rhythmic beats of Cajun and zydeco music, and the energetic movements of Mardi Gras Indians, giving you a deeper understanding of the traditions that have shaped the city’s history.

For those interested in the visual arts, the Jazz Fest’s Art Market is a must-see. This open-air gallery brings together local and regional artists, showcasing a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. From paintings and sculptures to photography and jewelry, there’s something for every art lover. It’s a fantastic opportunity to support local artists and bring a piece of New Orleans’ creativity and soul home with you.

Furthermore, the Jazz Fest hosts various educational exhibits that delve into the history of New Orleans and its cultural roots. These exhibits provide fascinating insights into the city’s musical heritage, iconic landmarks, and significant historical events. Take the time to explore these displays and learn about the stories that have helped shape the vibrant tapestry that is New Orleans.

Another unique aspect of the cultural exhibits is the emphasis on celebrating and preserving Louisiana’s indigenous cultures. From the rich traditions of Native American tribes to the unique Cajun and Creole heritage, the Jazz Fest strives to highlight the diverse contributions of these communities. Experience the captivating rhythms of Native American drumming, learn about the intricacies of Cajun cooking, and witness the vibrant colors and sounds of Mardi Gras traditions.

The cultural exhibits at the New Orleans Jazz Fest provide a deeper appreciation for the diverse cultures that have shaped the city. They offer a chance to connect with the roots of New Orleans and gain insight into the community’s vibrant history, traditions, and artistic expressions.


Dates and Venue

The New Orleans Jazz Fest takes place over multiple weekends, offering ample opportunity for music lovers and culture enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the festivities. The festival typically spans two consecutive weekends, with each weekend filled with an exciting lineup of performances, exhibits, and culinary delights. Additionally, there are usually a few weekdays in between, allowing for a prolonged celebration of New Orleans’ rich cultural heritage.

The exact dates for the Jazz Fest vary from year to year, but it is typically held in late April to early May. This timing aligns with the pleasant weather that New Orleans enjoys during spring, providing visitors with comfortable temperatures to enjoy the outdoor festivities.

As for the venue, the New Orleans Jazz Fest mostly takes place at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Located in the Gentilly neighborhood, this spacious and iconic venue provides the perfect setting for the festival’s multiple stages, food stalls, and cultural exhibits.

The Fair Grounds Race Course offers ample space to accommodate the large number of attendees that the Jazz Fest attracts each year. The festival grounds are thoughtfully designed to provide easy navigation between stages, ensuring that you never miss a beat of your favorite artist’s performance.

In addition to the Fair Grounds, some events and exhibitions are held at other locations throughout the city. These off-site events offer an opportunity to explore different neighborhoods and venues, adding an extra layer of diversity to the festival experience. Make sure to check the festival’s schedule and map to plan your attendance accordingly.

When attending the New Orleans Jazz Fest, it’s important to keep in mind that the festival spans multiple days and weekends. This allows for a more flexible experience, as you can choose the dates that work best for you or attend the entire duration of the festival for an immersive experience.

Regardless of the specific dates, the New Orleans Jazz Fest promises a celebration of music, culture, and culinary delights that will leave you with lasting memories. Whether you’re a first-time attendee or a seasoned festival-goer, be prepared to soak in the infectious energy, vibrant sounds, and rich traditions of this iconic musical event.


Ticket Information

Attending the New Orleans Jazz Fest is an unforgettable experience that offers a vibrant celebration of music, culture, and food. To be a part of this one-of-a-kind event, you’ll need to purchase tickets in advance. Here’s some essential information about ticketing:

The festival offers various ticket options to suit different preferences and budgets. General admission tickets provide access to all stages, exhibits, and food areas, allowing you to fully enjoy the festival’s offerings. There are also VIP packages available for those seeking a more elevated experience, with exclusive access to designated VIP areas, premium seating, and additional amenities.

It’s advisable to purchase your tickets as soon as they become available, as the New Orleans Jazz Fest is a highly popular event that often sells out quickly. Ticket sales typically start several months before the festival dates, and you can purchase them online through the festival’s official website or authorized ticketing partners.

Pricing for tickets can vary depending on the specific package, date, and availability. Early bird tickets are often offered at a discounted rate, providing a cost-effective option for those who plan well in advance. Keep in mind that ticket prices may increase as the festival dates approach, so it’s wise to secure your tickets as early as possible.

In addition to single-day tickets, the festival also offers multi-day passes for those who wish to attend multiple weekends or consecutive days of the event. These passes can provide convenience and potentially save you money, especially if you plan on fully immersing yourself in the Jazz Fest experience.

Once you have purchased your tickets, it’s essential to keep them in a safe place. You may need to show your ticket or a barcode on your mobile device for entry into the festival grounds. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by the festival organizers regarding ticket retrieval or printing.

It’s worth noting that children under a certain age, usually 2 years old and under, are often admitted free of charge with a paying adult. However, do check the festival’s official guidelines and any age restrictions before attending with young children.

In the event that you are unable to attend the Jazz Fest after purchasing tickets, some ticket vendors may offer a refund or resell option. Be sure to carefully review the terms and conditions regarding ticket cancellations and refunds to understand your options.

Attending the New Orleans Jazz Fest is a magical experience that shouldn’t be missed. By securing your tickets in advance and planning accordingly, you can ensure that you have the opportunity to revel in the remarkable music, food, and culture that the festival has to offer.


Tips for Attending the Jazz Fest

Attending the New Orleans Jazz Fest is an exciting and immersive experience. To make the most of your time at the festival, here are some helpful tips that will help enhance your experience:

  • Plan and prioritize: With multiple stages and exhibits, it’s essential to plan your schedule in advance. Check the festival’s lineup and create a list of must-see artists or exhibits. Arrive early to ensure you have enough time to explore and secure a good spot at the stages.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and footwear: The Jazz Fest takes place outdoors, so be prepared for various weather conditions. New Orleans can get hot and humid during the festival dates, so dress in lightweight and breathable fabrics. Opt for comfortable footwear as you’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing.
  • Stay hydrated: Louisiana’s warm climate can be intense, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated throughout the festival. Bring a refillable water bottle and take advantage of the water stations available on the festival grounds.
  • Sample the food: The Jazz Fest offers an incredible variety of delicious food options. Don’t be afraid to venture outside your comfort zone and try some unique dishes. Food vendors accept cash, but it’s also a good idea to bring a card for convenience.
  • Bring sunscreen and insect repellent: Protect yourself from the sun by applying sunscreen regularly. Also, bring insect repellent to ward off any unwanted pests that may be present in outdoor areas.
  • Bring cash and small bills: While many vendors accept card payments, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially for smaller food stalls, merchandise, or tipping performers. Having small bills makes it easier for transactions.
  • Take breaks and explore: Pace yourself throughout the festival to avoid fatigue. Take breaks in shaded areas, explore the cultural exhibits, and engage in interactive activities. The Jazz Fest offers much more than just music, so make the most of the diverse offerings.
  • Respect the environment and others: The Jazz Fest is a community event, so it’s important to be mindful and respectful of others. Dispose of waste properly and keep the festival grounds clean. Be considerate of people around you and enjoy the festival in a way that enhances everyone’s experience.
  • Capture the memories: Don’t forget to bring a camera or your smartphone to capture the special moments. However, be present in the experience and avoid spending too much time behind the lens.
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture: Take the opportunity to explore the vibrant neighborhoods of New Orleans outside of the festival. Visit iconic landmarks, try local cuisine, and embrace the rich cultural heritage that surrounds you.

By following these tips, you can maximize your enjoyment at the New Orleans Jazz Fest and create lasting memories of this iconic celebration of music and culture.



The New Orleans Jazz Fest is a captivating experience that combines the soulful sounds of jazz with the vibrant culture and flavors of the city. It is a music festival unlike any other, where history comes alive and the spirit of New Orleans shines through. From the captivating music lineup to the delectable food offerings and culturally rich exhibits, the Jazz Fest offers a sensory journey that celebrates the heritage and diversity of this iconic city.

Stepping onto the festival grounds, you are transported to a world where music fills the air, where the aroma of Cajun spices and Creole dishes dances on the wind, and where tradition blends harmoniously with innovation. Whether you’re a die-hard jazz enthusiast or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, the Jazz Fest has something to offer everyone.

As the stages light up with mesmerizing performances, the energy of the crowd swells, creating an atmosphere of pure joy and celebration. The festival showcases a wide range of musical genres, paying homage to the roots of jazz while embracing contemporary sounds and emerging talents.

But the New Orleans Jazz Fest is more than just a music festival. It is a journey of discovery, where you can explore the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans through interactive exhibits, culinary delights, and the warm embrace of the local community. It is an opportunity to connect with the rhythms of the city and experience its vibrant traditions and artistic expressions.

Whether you’re savoring a bowl of gumbo, swaying to the rhythms of a jazz ensemble, or marveling at the beauty of local crafts, the Jazz Fest offers a tapestry of experiences that will leave a lasting impression. It is a testament to the enduring power and significance of music and culture in shaping communities and bringing people together.

So, whether you’re a jazz connoisseur, a lover of food and drink, or simply a seeker of new adventures, make your way to the New Orleans Jazz Fest and immerse yourself in the magic of this cultural extravaganza. Let the music move your soul, let the flavors ignite your taste buds, and let the spirit of New Orleans captivate your heart.

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