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A first timer’s Guide to Jazz Fest

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival or commonly known just as Jazz Fest, is a yearly celebration of local music and culture which is held at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Jazz Fest helps attract thousands of visitors to New Orleans every year. At its core, Jazz Fest celebrates music, food, and the culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. Today, let us find out what you can expect when you arrive at Jazz Fest.   



You will be able to see not only jazz at the fest but much more. The lineup includes blues, funk, brass, zydeco, gospel, rap, rock, and other genres from icons and regional up-and-comers as well. There are big-name headliners that are brought in every year as well. This will be a chance for you to see a major act perform in a very laid-back environment and also have the opportunity to sample some of the best local music in just one spot. Other than just music, you can also dive into the food and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana.   

This year’s fest might end up being a special one as Rolling Stone is going to make an appearance finally at Jazz Fest. Due to their long-awaited wait, their much-anticipated gig has gained an extra day of the Fest and has extended it to eight days over two weekends. We can expect this year’s fest to be a memorable one.  

When and Where is Jazz Fest?

The Jazz Fest is held over two weekends, the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. It is usually seven days, however, as discussed above it will be eight days this year. The second Thursday is usually “Locals Thursday” with a special reduced rate just for Louisiana residents. However, seeing as Rolling Stones will be performing on that Thursday, an additional Thursday has been added to the weekend to serve the locals. Jazz Fest will take place from Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 28, and Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 5.   

Jazz Fest is held at Fair Grounds Race Course which is an active horse racing track on Gentilly Boulevard in Mid-City. It is about 10 minutes from the French Quarter and is easily accessible by public transportation, bike, and car. Even though the surrounding area is residential, parking can be hard to come by during Jazz Fest.   

Rolling Stones

Tickets and Lineup

Tickets for Jazz Fest are available on their official website 

  • Single day – Single-day general admission tickets are $95. Tickets at the gate will be $105.   
  • Weekend – There are a limited number of weekend passes that are available as well. $320 for the first weekend and $495 for the second weekend.  
  • There is also a whole new General admission +4-day option available for all four days each weekend at $549 and $799 respectively which includes re-entry, a private stand for beverages, a private restroom, and express entry at both gates.   
  • If you would like a high-end VIP experience of Jazz Fest those tickets start at $850 and range from perks of special seating to private restrooms, drink stations, parking, and more.    

Obviously, Rolling Stones are the biggest names in this year’s lineup, but other big names include Foo Fighters, Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Queen Latifah, and the Killers. However, the core of the fest is local names such as Irma Thomas, Jon Batiste, Juvenile with Mannie Fresh, Soul Rebels, Dumpstaphunk, and many more. The Cultural Exchange Pavillion celebrates the cultural heritage of a different country or region every year and 2024 will highlight Columbia. The daily lineups are also available on Jazz Fest’s website 

Other things to do

Other than great food and music, Jazz Fest also promotes the culture and heritage of New Orleans and Louisiana including other countries that have influenced the city’s culture. You should head to the Grandstand in order to check the exhibits and sit on cooking demos from great local chefs. Remember that you check out the abundance of crafts that range from jewelry and pottery to sculpture and art. You will also be able to find local artisans displaying their skills from woodcarving and weaving to glassblowing and accordion-making.   

However, the fun doesn’t just stop there as after the fest you will find music all night long. Nightly clubs are packed with lineups during the Fest. Jazz Fest Grids is a good source for after-hours events. Daze between is also one of the biggest events at Faubourg Brewery on April 30 and May 1. More late-night shows get announced as the fest gets closer.   


What to bring

It is typically hot and sunny during April and May so make sure you wear cool clothing. Remember to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. If there is rain, wear your rain boots or sneakers because there will certainly also be mud. Chairs, blankets, and tarps are allowed as long as you are in designated chair areas.   

There are certain things that you cannot bring to the fest including pets, wagons, coolers, tents, and drones. The Fest is cashless so leave your cash at home. Vendors only accept major credit cards and digital payment methods, and cash exchange booths should be located near vendor areas.  


You will be impressed by Jazz Fest’s food as much as you will be by its music to the extent that some people prefer its flavors over its vibes. You need to try everything as there are two dedicated food areas that offer New Orleans eats, Louisiana flavors, and International Bites. Some of the highlights include crawfish Monica, the cochon de lait po-boy, fried alligator, red beans and rice, mango freeze, and crawfish bread. You can bring many friends to share the food and also bring zip lock bags to take the food back home and enjoy it there as well.  

Jazzfest Food


The French Quarter and the surrounding neighborhoods all provide easy access to the Fairgrounds. The Sheraton New Orleans is the official host hotel and Expedia is the official travel partner of Jazz Fest.  

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