New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
Top musicians from Louisiana and around the country gather in New Orleans for the world's best music festival.
Jazz Fest will be slightly different in 2021 with the festival slated for October 8-17, 2021. Please visit the official Jazz Fest website for the most up to date information.
Read below for the fun we've experienced in the past and the quick guide to this iconic festival.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a rite of spring for hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, throughout the United States and in many other countries. It is, arguably, the biggest and best-attended multi-style music festival in the world. The grand event unfolds across two weekends—always the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. It encompasses full days of performances on a dozen stages strategically arranged around the Fair Grounds Race Course, and brings along with it dozens of nightly performances in New Orleans’ music venues.
While the festival is named for New Orleans’ indigenous music, and top modern jazz performers abound here, it’s hard to think of a musical style that is not well represented at Jazz Fest. You can count on finding many of Louisiana’s best-known performers, representing the best in Cajun, zydeco, blues and Delta blues, rock, rockabilly, gospel, hip-hop, salsa, swamp pop and more. It’s the place to hear and see the great names of Louisiana music, often including, among many others: Harry Connick, Jr.; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Buddy Guy; The Meters; Aaron Neville; Dr. John; and Big Freedia.
Check out our five Jazz Fest must-dos:
- Music: While the main stages are always a big draw a visit to the Cultural Exchange Pavilion, World Journey is always a good idea. Throughout the eight days, the Pavilion features amazing bands playing music from around the world.
- Food: Local restaurants serve up a whole host of Louisiana dishes but two musts are Crawfish Bread & Crawfish Monica. Don’t worry, there are plenty of vegetarian options as well. And be sure to wash it all down with a fresh lemonade!
- Locals Day: The first Thursday in May is deemed Locals Day and it’s not to be missed. If you are lucky enough to live in-state and provide an ID proving so, you qualify for a discounted entry ticket and enjoy much lighter crowds.
- Shopping: There are three markets within Jazz Fest boasting mostly Louisiana made products and art. Want your commemorative poster a head of time? You can find that here, and be on the look-out for a Congo Square poster as well.
- Pack: While they days are full of fun and spectacular music, they can also be long so make sure you pack sunscreen, a hat, and a folding chair. You can also bring a small soft sided cooler filled with sealed bottled water.
Jazz Fest is a great event for all ages, strollers are allowed (no wagons) and there is a kid’s tent featuring kid-friendly acts each day.
Visit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for even more details and ticket information.