Spring in New Orleans is Jazz Fest Time
It’s not too early to be making plans for this year’s Jazz Fest. It's always the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. The Festival is slated for April 27-29 and May 3-6,2012. It seems that this event can not help itself from getting bigger and better each and every year. Every year there are “headliners” who can be said to top the talent list and this year is no different. We have some well known “newbie’s” or first timers who will grace the stages in addition to the plethora of musicians and singers who have made previous appearances. So who is coming to entertain us for the first time? How about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Eagles and the Foo Fighters? They would qualify for pretty hot first time headliners - wouldn’t you say? There are even rumors of another big announcement coming soon regarding some important talent who will perhaps be reuniting for this important music festival. Get the entire schedule.
It is a gathering of music’s most talented performers from around the world including many well known local performers. It started in April, 1970 and featured the great gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. She along with Duke Ellington teamed up with the Eureka Brass Band and that was, as they say, all it took! Interestingly enough, Jackson and Ellington were joined by Fats Domino, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, The Meters and Clifton Chenier. No wonder it has endured all these many years considering the solid foot hold it started with.
There are twelve stages of foot tapping music ranging from Jazz, Gospel, Cajun, Zydeco, Blues R&B, Rock, Funk, African, Latin, Caribbean, Folk and so much more. Truly something for everyone no matter what you musical inclinations are.
New Orleans Jazz Fest has surpassed even the renown Newport Festival and that is as it should be considering that the Crescent City is the birth place of Jazz. By 1972 the Festival had moved from Congo Square to the infield of the Fairgrounds Race Track (third oldest in America - 1872) where it remains to this day. You might be surprised to learn that the Jazz Fest will attract upwards to 500,000 people over it two weekends. The record was set in 2001 when 650,000 fans turned out.
Food and Crafts
Along with the fantastic music you can expect excellent food and drink. Here's my list of favorite food at Jazz Fest. There are booths exhibiting cultural treasures for your shopping pleasure. What would New Orleans be without a parade? You can expect to see The Preservation Hall Band, The Olympia Brass Band and the Mardi Gras Indians strutting their stuff daily.
Where is it and How do I Get There?
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival happens at the The Fairgrounds Racecourse located at 1751 Gentilly Boulevard. There's parking if you're driving. But the best way to get there is on the Grayline Tours Jazz Fest Express. You can catch get round trip tickets to the Jazz Fest from downtown or City Park. Here's all the information.
Who’s Entertaining This Year?
After the following list of headliners came out, Jazz Fest official announced a special surprise. The Beach Boys will reunite for a 50th anniversary tour that begins in New Orleans with the Jazz Fest.
The list is much too long for this writing but here are a few of the headliners:
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, The Eagles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, TBA, John Mayer, The Neville Brothers, Al Green, Herbie Hancock and his Band, Ne-Yo, My Morning Jacket, Bon Iver, Paulina Rubio, Jill Scott, Florence + the Machine, Allen Toussaint, Feist, Bunny Wailer, Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Maze feat, Frankie Beverly, Dr. John and the Lower 911, Janelle Monae, Yolanda Adams, Iron and Wine, Pete Fountain, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Steel Pulse, Rebirth Brass Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, funky Meters, Aaron Neville, Steve Earle, Galactic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s 50th Anniversary Jam, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Ani DiFranco, GIVERS, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Dianne Reeves, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Better Than Ezra, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Bruce Hornsby, Dave Koz, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Amanda Shaw, James Cotton “Superharp” Band, Cowboy Mouth, Asleep at the Wheel, Papa Grows Funk, David Sanborn and Joey DeFrancesco, Bobby Rush, Chuck Leavell and Friends, Ellis Marsalis, Marcia Ball, Voice of the Wetlands Allstars, John Boutté, Gary Clark Jr., The Texas Tornados fea, Flaco Jiminez, Augie Myers, and Shawn Sahm, Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Band feat, Terence Blanchard, Tab Benoit, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Jeremy Davenport, Sarah Jarosz, Bonerama, Buckwheat Zydeco
How Much Does it Cost?
Advance purchase of tickets will save you money. Individual tickets are $50 a day ($65 at the gate). There are many packages available including a VIP and Weekenders. If you want to attend a day time festival with multiple stages featuring a wide variety of music styles, food booths of Louisiana cuisine, arts and craft booths and evening concerts at different venues then you had best purchase your Jazz Fest tickets now at this website.