Dionne Character Entertainment Columnist
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or as the locals call it, Jazz Fest, is the celebration of the unique culture and heritage of New Orleans and Louisiana. Featuring an endless amount of music, succulent local and regional delicacies, one-of-a-kind handmade arts and crafts, second-line parades and so much more – there is something for everyone at Jazz Fest, as over the years, it has worked its way into the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Jazz Fest is slated to return from April 28th – May 7, 2023.
With 13 stages of soul-stirring music—jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, blues, R&B, rock, funk, African, Latin, Caribbean, folk, and much more—the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a singular celebration. The event has showcased most of the great artists of New Orleans and Louisiana of the last half-century: Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, The Neville Brothers, Wynton Marsalis, Dr. John, Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Ellis Marsalis, The Radiators, Irma Thomas, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Allen Toussaint, Buckwheat Zydeco, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Better Than Ezra, Ernie K-Doe, Vernel Bagneris, The Zion Harmonizers, Beausoleil, and many others.
The 2023 Jazz Fest Lineup
The Jazz Fest lineup always includes a solid mix of local talent with internationally famous touring artists. The 2023 lineup includes:
- Dead & Company
- Ed Sheeran
- The Lumineers
- Mumford & Sons
- Jill Scott
- Jon Batiste
- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
- Steve Miller Band
- Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
- Gary Clark, Jr.
- Tedeschi Trucks Band
- Kane Brown
- Kenny Loggins
- Leon Bridges
- Jazmine Sullivan
- Wu-Tang Clan + Soul Rebels
- Herbie Hancock
- Mavis Staples
- Irma Thomas
- Preservation Hall Jazz Band
- Buddy Guy
- The Revivalists
- Big Freedia
- Melissa Etheridge
- Los Lobos
- Tom Jones
- Tank and the Bangas
- …and so many more!
How many stages are there and what can I expect at each stage?
Jazz Fest has a number of stages and tents dedicated to different genres of music and performances, fest activities and even live demonstrations. The following can be found on fest grounds:
- Festival Stage – Main Stage
- Gentilly Stage – Secondary Main Stage
- Congo Square Stage – Afro-Centric and World Music
- Blues Tent – Blues Music
- WWOZ Jazz Tent – Contemporary Jazz Music
- Gospel Tent presented by Morris Bart – Gospel Musicians and Performers
- Kids Tent – Children’s Music and Performances
- Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do Do Stage – Cajun & Zydeco Music
- Jazz & Heritage Stage – Mardi Gras Indians + Brass Band Performances
- Economy Hall Tent – Traditional New Orleans Jazz
- Lagniappe Stage – A potpourri of sound and style
- AARP Rhythmpourium – A small stage (with wine bar) for jazz, blues, rock…and everything in between
- Cultural Exchange Pavilion – Daily performances from the New Orleans Black Masking Indians. Hear everything from blues and gospel to Latin & international sounds.
- Folklife Stage – Located in the Louisiana Folklife Village, where you can see artists & musicians creating in real-time. Celebrate our state’s cultural traditions.
- Food Heritage Stage – Located in the Grandstand near the Lagniappe Stage
Another pro-tip: the tents offer shade and misting areas, which are great ways to take a break from the sun while also enjoying world-class entertainment. The tent areas also provide seating, so you can give your feet a rest (although resisting the urge to dance isn’t always as easy).
Tickets – when is the best time to buy them?
Jazz Fest tickets are available for purchase on the Jazz Fest site a few months prior to the event, or at the gates on any day of the fest. You can find a variety of tickets including single-day, general admission 3-day weekend passes, VIP packages and travel packages.
VIP packages are weekend-specific and are valid for all three days of the weekend purchased. Jazz Fest offers three distinct VIP opportunities to experience the event in a very special way: the Festival’s popular Big Chief VIP Experience ticket package provides special viewing access at most of the Festival’s stages; the Grand Marshal VIP Pass allows for up-close access at the three major stages; and the Krewe of Jazz Fest VIP Pass entitles patrons to special covered seating at the Festival Stage audience area.
Jazz Fest is Going Cashless
Like most other large scale special events and entertainment venues, Jazz Fest 2023 will be a cashless experience. Ticket, food, beverage, craft, and merchandise booths will no longer accept cash payments. For Festivalgoers who come to the event with only cash, the Festival will offer cash exchange booths near key vending locations. For more information check out the ultimate Jazz Fest Guide at www.neworleans.com.
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