New Orleans… a city rich with customs, where the American south meets Creole culture meets big band brass meets general debauchery. Tourists near and far flock to the diverse hotspot for many annual celebrations, Mardi Gras being the most regailed. Yet, just as impressive as Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival sits pretty at the top of the NO attraction list. Combining jazz with chart-topping artists since the birth of blues and rock 'n' roll, it's crazy to think that Louisiana's Jazz Festival is set to celebrate its 50th year strong this upcoming April 25th-28th and May 2nd-5th, 2019. Four days, hundreds of performances, 12 stages, two weekends in a row… what an experience.
Four days, hundreds of performances, 12 stages, two weekends in a row… what an experience.
The New Orleans Jazz Fest is so much more than a live music staple; it honors all that New Orleans has to offer. From traditional craftsmen creating new treasures using old methods of artisanship to stages showcasing the art and influence of New Orleans' indigenous peoples, Jazz Fest truly fuses music to history. Ever since the 1st Annual Jazz Fest in 1970, when locals Eureka Brass Band led festival attendees through the concert grounds big band style and headliner Mahalia Jackson grabbed the mic to join the spirited hubbub, the event cemented its appreciation to its birth place. Lousiana cuisine, musical styles and more are inescapable throughout the festival arena, whether you're watching one of the main stages or perusing through the Louisiana Folklife Village, the Native American Village or The Grandstand (featuring four stages in itself!!). Throw the agenda out the window, for the overwhelming amount of activities at Jazz Fest will keep you entertained from start to finish.
And, speaking of entertainment, the 50th Annual is going bigger than ever. Although split between two weekends, the lineup remains the same – with rock 'n' roll legends The Rolling Stones headlining it all! Other mainstream artists include Dave Matthews Band, Katy Perry, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Seger, Santana, Van Morrison, Al Green, Logic, Earth Wind & Fire, J Balvin, John Fogerty and almost too many more to list. And, what would Jazz Fest be without that big band sound? Jazz Fest 2019 welcomes Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rebirth Brass Band, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, New Breed Brass Band, Original Pinettes Brass Band and a myriad of other acts spicing up the stages with local flavor. Want indie? Enter The Revivalists, The Head and the Heart, Better Than Ezra, Hurray for the Riff Raff, among others. Reggae? Enjoy rootsy heavyweights Tank and The Bangas, Ziggy Marley and Jimmy Ciff. Prefer blues? Gary Clark Jr. will be shredding onstage, not to mention Buddy Guy, Leon Bridges, Boz Scaggs while funky jam bands like Galactic, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Big Sam's Funky Nation and Dumpstaphunk bring a groove all their own. Girls can shred too, so make sure to catch Samantha Fish's set amongst the madness! Want to stick to Top 40? Depending on your generational preference, Jazz Fest has Alanis Morissette, Ciara, Pitbull, Chaka Khan and beyond. The 50th Annual even has Latin and country audiences covered with Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt and Chris Stapleton.
Sound simply too good to be true? It might be. With tickets on sale since mid-January, the fest is quickly selling out. At this time, single day general admission passes are still available except for the second weekend Thursday kickoff party on May 2nd. All single day tickets are as low as $75 until day of, with children ages 2-10 getting in for only $5! Locals can save a buck by opting to attend Thursday, April 25th, with tickets only $50 at the gate (limit two per Lousiana resident). It's honestly worth it to upgrade to VIP, too! The Big Chief VIP packages sold out fast, but Weekend One still is on the table for Grand Marshall Weekend One VIP and Krewe of Jazz Fest VIP packages available at $1350 and $750, respectively. Don't forget to spring for a parking or shuttle pass! For more information or to lock down your tickets now, visit www.nojazzfest.com.