The 2014 Jazz Fest is only one more weekend and there is still a huge amount to take in. Take a look at the acts, the vendors, the tips and tricks to make your Fest fun, easy and affordable.
It could be very affordable if you win tickets from WWL Radio, but if that doesn't work out you can take a look at the different options and ticket packages here. It's always better to buy in advance - buying tickets at the gate the day of will cost $70 this year. Advance tickets can also be bought at the Superdome box office during regular business hours on non-festival days.
THU MAY 1 - String Cheese Incident, Lyle Lovett, Marcia Ball Tickets
FRI MAY 2 - Christina Aguilera, Amanda Shaw, Alabama Shakes Tickets
SAT MAY 3 - Bruce Springsteen, Foster the People, Al Jarreau Tickets
SUN MAY 4 - Trombone Shorty, Arcade Fire, John Fogerty Tickets
Getting to the Fairgrounds
Driving to Jazz Fest is probably not worth the trouble unless you are willing and able to park a good distance away and walk, or drive around until you find a local person or business renting out their lawn or lot, and that can get expensive. Taxicabs are plentiful but also in extremely high demand. Here's some other options to consider:
- Ride a bicycle! Dedicated bike lanes on Esplanade and shared lanes on Orleans are making this a more attractive option, and City Park Ave and Carrollton are also useful for getting close. There are special off-street bike racks with supervising staff at both the Gentilly and Sauvage entrances. A bike lock is advised but not compulsory.
- Take public transit! NORTA adds extra buses to the Jackson-Esplanade line (91) for service to and from the French Quarter, Irish Channel and places in between. The Louisiana (27) and Broad (94) buses will also get you pretty close. You can also take the Canal streetcar, but make sure you get on one headed for City Park and not the Cemeteries, or you will have a very long walk!
- Take a Jazz Fest Shuttle! There is a continuous shuttle to and from the Fest from 10:30am until the Fest closes. Departure points are the Steamboat Natchez Dock at Toulouse St on the River, the Sheraton Hotel at 500 Canal St and City Park near Marconi Dr. & Harrison Ave... follow the signs. Shuttle tickets are available here.
What to bring and what to wear
Check the weather forecast before you go for maximum preparation, but most days you'll want sunscreen, sunglasses no matter what, and perhaps a hat. Traditional Jazz Fest garb is bright colors and lively patterns like those you'd find on Hawaiian shirts and dresses. Open-toed, easily removable shoes are recommended unless you're the type who doesn't like to get their feet a little dirty; but then, nothing feels better than grass between your toes and a breeze in your hair.
Many Fest-goers are in the habit of bringing folding chairs, tarps, and blankets to stake out territory early in the day and stay there until close. If you're expecting a little more of a nomadic experience, a folding stool can be your best friend. It doesn't take up nearly as much space as a chair, and is easier to haul from stage to stage.
You are allowed to bring a small soft cooler and factory-sealed water bottles. No hard coolers or open beverage containers will be allowed. Snacks like fruit and granola bars are good to go. Backpacks and purses are permitted but will be searched at the gates.
What to eat and drink
A lot of folks will tell you that the main attraction at Jazz Fest is the music, but the food is a huge draw as well. Everything is there, from the ordinary to exotic. If you don't know where to start, don't miss the Cajun Duck Po-boy, Crawfish Beignets, Mango Freeze and Crawfish Monica. Click here for a full menu of food options.
What to leave at home
Wagons or pull carts, pets, glass, tents, large pole umbrellas, inflatable items, large chairs, skateboards and skates, weapons, audio and video recording equipment and more are prohibited at Jazz Fest. Use your common sense when deciding whether to bring something or not, and if you're unsure, check it against the official list of prohibited items.