The 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, otherwise known as Jazz Fest, will be taking place April 27-May 6. Once again some of music’s largest names will be featured including David Byrne, Aerosmith, Sting, Rod Stewart, Jack White, Beck, Jimmy Buffet, Jack Johnson, Khalid, Jason Isbell, Cage The Elephant, LL Cool J, and Smokey Robinson. This festival is not only about the international headliners. Jazz Fest is meant to be an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.
This is one festival where there is something for everyone! The festival includes twelve stages where every style of music is represented. The top names in r&b, Cajun, zydeco, gospel, Afro-Caribbean, rap, bounce, country, rock, bluegrass and of course jazz, contemporary and traditional perform. I have often been walking between stages when I hear a local band that piqued my interest. Needless to say I never make it to my final destination. Music runs from the hours of 11 A.M until the festival concludes at 7 P.M.
Jazz Fest began in 1970, making it one of the longest running music festivals in the United States. Congo Square, located on the outskirts of the French Quarter, was the location of the first festival. Attendance was said to be only 350 people. As attendance grew the festival was moved to its current location, the New Orleans Fair Grounds and Racetrack. Attendance peaked in 2001 with 650,000 tickets sold over the two weekends.
If during the day you have not experienced enough music, the city’s theatres and clubs are filled with many of the musicians after the festival. Musicians often bounce from club to club sitting in one another’s sets. Sets often last until the morning hours. I’m talking 5 or 6 in the morning. There have been many mornings I’ll be returning to the hotel as “normal” people are heading off to work. This year the artists Gov’t Mule, Ryan Adams, Trombone Shorty, Trey Anastasio from Phish, Queens of The Stone Age, Afghan Whigs, and Los Lobos will all be in the city. This is not even counting all the bands that originate from New Orleans.
Jazz Fest is a festival for everyone; young and old. It is rich in history and culture. Many of the experiences and artists are unique to the area. Attendees are treated to music from every music genre. Oh, I almost forgot…did I mention the food?
To be continued…….