The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

New Orleans has always been considered the "birthplace of jazz."
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
New Orleans, LA
The very first Jazz Festival was held way back in 1970 when gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson first appeared on the festival stage and sang with the great Duke Ellington band. The combination was not only dynamic, but it sealed the future destiny of Jazz Fest along with other musical greats, such as clarinetist Pete Fountain-who still plays in New Orleans to this day... and famous trumpeter, Al Hirt... the incredible Fats Domino and the one and only Preservation Hall Band. The richest musical heritage in America was presented that day to a small crowd of spectators and a now famous festival was born. Even from its early beginnings, Jazz Fest had enormous appeal and quickly became one of the more important festivals in a city where "festival" is its middle name! New Orleans has always been considered the "birthplace of jazz," and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is an event worthy of that legacy.

Today's festival is a large daytime fair with multiple stages and a wide variety of musical styles, Louisiana cuisine and arts and crafts booths for young and old alike. At night, evening concerts take place all around the city... in other words, something for everyone... everywhere... morning, noon and nighttime, too. Like Coca-Cola, this music festival is "the real thing" and crowds have grown from 350 back in 1970 to enthusiastic crowds nearing 650,000 on the third oldest race track in America, the Fair Grounds Race Course... 145 acres of pure musical excitement!

In 1975, Jazz Fest began using a limited-edition silk screen poster in its advertising campaign. The posters are now recognized among the most popular and highly collectible posters in the world. The 20th Annual Jazz Fest poster featured Fats Domino and ushered in an era of iconic posters that celebrated many of Louisiana's musical legends. These posters only hastened the extreme popularity of the Festival and a Thursday was added to kick off the second weekend in the 1990's, along with an International Pavilion to celebrate other cultures and a Native American stage and area.

2001 marked the 100th birthday of New Orleans' most famous citizen, Louis Armstrong, and Jazz Fest was only too happy to join in the celebration shattering attendance records and assuring its place as the finest jazz festival in the world and once again, hailing New Orleans as "the first city of jazz!" This singular celebration of music now takes place on 12 soul-stirring stages that include every kind of music from jazz, gospel, Cajun and Zydeco to blues, R&B, rock, funk and much, much more. The festival continues to blend a wide mix of internationally revered artists too numerous to mention but over the years, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has played host to all of the musical greats in our world and in doing so, has received many honors, including Festival of the Year many times over!

To this day, Jazz Fest remembers the spirit of Mahalia Jackson with pride and continues its celebration of Louisiana Culture and the world's best musicians and vocalists.

Another important issue to consider is the New Orleans springtime weather, which can range from pleasantly warm to HOT. Cool, unrestrictive clothing is highly recommended along with sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat... does anyone still wear a hat? Yes! And you should, too, along with comfortable shoes so you can head to the Grandstrand for a little shade and air-conditioning, not to mention all the hidden treasures inside. Seriously, the number of exciting artist's at this year's event is mindblowing and it can happen to YOU... what else can I say? Be there... or you know what-be SQUARE!

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