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By Staff

The biggest names in music grace the stage at New Orleans Jazz Fest. Check out Trombone Shorty!

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Don't miss out on the famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

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Festival season in #OnlyLouisiana is always a wonderful time of year, but it will be extra special, with the arrival of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which is celebrating 51 years in 2020. This one-of-a-kind music presented by Shell is a rite of spring for hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, throughout the United States and many other countries.

Jazz Fest is, after all, 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 — encompassing incredible performances on a dozen stages strategically arranged around the Fair Grounds Race Course and bringing dozens of nightly performances to 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. Discover the 2020 Jazz Fest festival lineup!

Additionally, check out these top four must-dos at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival:

  1. Music: While the main stages are always a big draw, a visit to the Cultural Exchange Pavilion is always a good idea. Throughout the festival, the Pavilion features amazing bands playing music from around the world.
  2. Food: Local restaurants serve up a whole host of Louisiana dishes, but two musts are Crawfish Bread and 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Shopping: There are three markets within Jazz Fest boasting mostly Louisiana-made products and art. Want your commemorative poster ahead of time? You'll be able to find that here, and be on the look-out for a Congo Square poster as well.

Bonus Tips! While they days are full of fun and spectacular music, they can also be long. Be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat and a folding chair. Small soft-sided coolers filled with sealed bottled water is also allowed. Jazz Fest is a great event for all ages, too, so strollers are allowed (sorry, no wagons) and there is a kid’s tent featuring kid-friendly acts each day.

Visit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival more details, this year's lineup and ticket information.


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