Jazz fan or not, the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is the place to celebrate music. During the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, the Big Easy opens to the page in its history book that’s filled with tribal African beats, harmonic church hymns, and American pop music, filling 12 stages with everything from jazz and blues to rock and folk. This soulful festival has a relaxed vibe, perfect if you want to experience New Orleans culture without the madness of Mardi Gras.
The 2017 edition wrapped May 7 and drew about 425,000 people, who came see such big-name acts at Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews and Snoop Dogg as well as New Orleans favorites, such as Dr. Michael White, Irma Thomas and the Iguanas. The 2018 New Orleans Jazz Fest will run April 27-29 and May 3-6 at the Fair Grounds Race Course on Gentilly Boulevard.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell features national touring and local acts on 12 stages, plus more than 70 food vendors, local, regional and international arts and crafts, interviews, second-lines, kids’ activities, demonstrations and cultural displays. The lineup includes national and international touring acts as well as New Orleans and regional favorites. The lineup often represents pop, rock, gospel, jazz, rap and R&B. The lineup usually is unveiled in January before the festival. Music begins at 11 a.m. each day of the fest, and ends by 7 p.m. In 2018, the first weekend runs from April 27 to 29, and the second weekend begins on a Thursday, running May 3 to 6.