New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Top musicians from Louisiana and around the country gather in New Orleans for the world's best music festival.

Visit New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

The biggest names in music grace the stage at New Orleans Jazz Fest. Are you ready?

Enjoy mango freezes at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Cool down with an infamous mango freeze at Jazz Fest.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Learn about the heritage of New Orleans and get a front row spot to view the Mardi Gras Indians parading through the festival.

Stop by the Fais Do Do Stage at Jazz Fest in New Orleans.

Stop by the Fais Do-Do stage and experience authentic Cajun and Zydeco tunes.

It isn't officially spring in Louisiana without the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival! It is, arguably, the biggest and best-attended multi-style music festival in the world. The grand event unfolds across two weekends—always the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. It encompasses full days of performances on a dozen stages strategically arranged around the Fair Grounds Race Course, and brings along with it dozens of nightly performances at New Orleans’ music venues.

While the festival is named for New Orleans’ indigenous music, it’s hard to think of a musical style that is not well represented at Jazz Fest. You can count on finding many of Louisiana’s best-known performers, representing the best in Cajun, zydeco, blues and Delta blues, rock, rockabilly, gospel, hip-hop, salsa, swamp pop and more. It’s the place to hear and see the great names of Louisiana music, often including, among many others: Harry Connick, Jr., Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Buddy Guy, The Meters, The Preservation Hall Brass Band, Aaron Neville, Dr. John, Big Freedia and the famed Mardi Gras Indians.

Jazz Fest: 5 Things to Know Before You Go

  1. Music: While the main stages are always a big draw, a visit to the Cultural Exchange Pavilion is always a good idea. Each year, the Cultural Exchange Pavilion holds a special showcase highlighting a different culture from around the world. The annual showcase includes daily performances on stage, demonstrations and exhibits—and, of course, music! The sounds at the Pavilion provide insight into the culture being highlighted, and features amazing bands playing music from around the world.
  2. Food: Music may be the star of the weekends, but the festival would be nothing without the food! Vendors serve up a host of local and international dishes, reflecting the culture of New Orleans and beyond. You can't go wrong with any of the dishes, but a fan favorite every year is the Crawfish Monica. This creamy, cheesy dish of pasta and crawfish will give you the energy you need for all-day festival activities. Don’t worry, there are plenty of vegetarian options as well. When you need to cool off, make sure to grab a Mango Freeze for a refreshing bite—it's sweet, smooth and, most importantly, cold!
  3. Shopping: There are three markets within Jazz Fest boasting mostly Louisiana-made products and art. Congo Square African Marketplace is filled with music, art and energy. Here you will find an array of local, national and international artisans exhibiting ancient crafting techniques. Contemporary Crafts is your destination to find handcrafted clothing, leather goods, paintings, sculptures and jewelry. In the Louisiana Marketplace, you will find traditional and contemporary art inspired by the cultural landscape of the Bayou State. And don’t forget your commemorative Jazz Fest poster!
  4. Pack: While the days are full of fun and spectacular music, they can also be long, so make sure you pack sunscreen, a hat and a folding chair. You can also bring a small soft-sided cooler filled with sealed bottled water.
  5. All are welcome: Jazz Fest is a great event for all ages, strollers are allowed (no wagons) and there is a kid’s tent featuring kid-friendly acts each day.

For over 50 years, Jazz Fest has brought together hundreds of thousands of people from Louisiana and around the world. Pro tip: the first Thursday in May is deemed Locals Thursday and is notorious for lighter crowds. The day is open to all, but if you’re a Louisiana resident, you qualify discounted entry!

Visit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for even more details and ticket information.