The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is two mammoth weekends of fun celebrating jazz and an array of distinctive features that the great city of New Orleans has to offer. The official Festival mantra is "a celebration of the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana." This includes genres and sub-genres such as Cajun music, gospel music, R&B, rap, Latin, rock, folk music, country music, bluegrass and Afro-Caribbean. It is a rich blend of colorful music and culture that simmers into one incredibly tasty stew over the course of the final weekend in April and the first weekend in May.
The Jazz Fest was originally founded by the New Orleans Hotel & Motel Association in 1970. They utilized a popular East Coast production company to bring talent to the annual event, and they succeeded. Within a few years, word had spread throughout the artistic community about the amazing opportunity to play one of the most organic and historic festivals in the United States, and jazz artists began to seek out the production company, instead of the other way around.
As with many things in the city of New Orleans, this Festival has a rich history, featuring an array of well-known musicians who initially rose to prominence in the first half of the 20th century. Mahalia Jackson had a magical moment during the initial Jazz Fest in April, 1970.
She was handed the microphone by a festival producer, and she embarked on an impromptu and improvised song with the passing parade. Folks in attendance have since said the moment served as an official declaration that the Festival is here to stay, and it has been a drawing attraction for jazz fans around the globe in the nearly 50 years since.
As with many locales in the great Louisiana entertainment capitol, structures at the site where the event is hosted were damaged a bit during the incredible storm that came through in late-2005. By 2008, everything was properly restored, and the event returned to its longtime home.
Because of the wide array of genres that are welcomed with open arms by the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the lineup truly reads as a Who's-Who of the business, dating back several decades. Artists from differing artistic backgrounds such as Earth, Wind & Fire will play on the same stages as other highly-anticipated performers such as Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder.
The list of truly big names is too long to mention in this blog, but some that simply cannot go without being named include Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Maroon 5, Kings of Leon, Patty LaBelle, Aaron Neville and Harry Connick Jr. The grounds of the Fair Grounds Race Course are the perfect place to host this event that has been growing in size virtually with each passing year. Cheap tickets to the New Orleans 2017 Jazz Fest are only a few clicks away.