Dive into a musical gathering that combines the fervor of a gospel hymn with the joy of a jazz parade and sets it all to the beat of iconic artists from New Orleans and around the world. This year marks the 51st Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the lineup is rightfully legendary. From Diana Ross, Al Green, Earth, Wind & Fire and Leon Bridges to Katy Perry, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Van Morrison and Mavis Staples, New Orleans’ 51st Jazz & Heritage Festival is a don’t-miss. Whether this is your first Jazz Fest or your 51st, these are our suggestions for making the most of your visit.
First task: pick your weekend. The festival kicks off the weekend of April 23rd – 26th and keeps on rolling from April 30th – May 3rd. Or, make like a local and stay for both.
Make the rounds! Don’t miss the Louisiana Folklife Village spotlighting the heritage of ritual and celebration. Our Mardi Gras Indians are sure to make an appearance.
Wear comfy shoes. The party will spill into the street. As you’re walking back to the hotel, march to the beat of the brass bands playing along the way.
Bring sunscreen…and a poncho. Jazz Fest weather can be unpredictable but the muddy dance parties are legendary so don’t let a little rain dampen your spirits.
Getting down at Jazz Fest is mandatory and so is getting your grub on. The region’s best restaurants will there in force to make sure the food at the fest is not to be missed.
There’s art everywhere. Pop into the Louisiana Marketplace and the Contemporary Crafts tents where you’ll find works by local and regional artists and artisans.
Dance the night away. The music doesn’t stop after the headliners take a bow. Visit the clubs along Frenchman Street or hit up the Maple Leaf – big stars often hop on stage!
Follow the flags. Local krewes will hoist colorful banners during the fest to mark their spots. Use them to navigate the crowds and find where you left your friends.