Yes. THAT jazz Fest. 2 weekends of food, fun, and FANTASTIC music.
I knew very little about Jazz Fest before I moved to NOLA. It was more of a fleeting “oh yeah, I’ve heard of that, oh, it already happened?” thought process. Well I am happy to say I have finally experienced it!
What is it you may ask? Its a 7 day outdoor festival, held at the fair grounds, put on by the non-profit New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation that brings in an eclectic mix of performers to entertain the crowds. It’s held over two weekends, and happens rain or shine… unless theres like, tornado warnings and such, but we’ll get into that.
I had honestly planned to go by myself, I wasn’t missing out on something right in my backyard, thank you very much. But luckily was able to make plans with a friend whose family was all going! SWEET! Meaning I had a safe place to park my (still not registered) Car, and a drop off/pickup for the fest.
We bought tickets at the door ($70) and walked in a little after 11am when gates opened. There was so much happening I didn’t know where to start, Amy and I were both newbies to the fest so we were a little out of place to start, but eventually molded with the crowd. It had been rainy bad weather before the fest started and even on the Friday evening when Keith Urban was headlining. I heard they stopped his show because of it. rough.
We were prepared for Saturday, it was supposed to be in the 80s, sunny, and humid. Rainboots were a must as we were to be mucking around on large, open fairgrounds outside the horse track. We were definitely the smart ones – so many girls in their ruined flip flops with mud caked onto the back of their legs. Free Sunscreen sure, but have fun getting back into your car or onto the streetcar at the end of the day! Not to mention the poor unfortunate souls who actually slipped and fell into the mud puddles. Sorryboutyourbadluck!
I also made sure to get a sno ball – apparently a New Orleans staple!
We wandered to the Acura stage first (1 of 12 stages in the space) and listened to one of the lesser known local bands. We meandered through the food and of course bought koozies to keep our beer cans from melting into our palms. I also had a pretty delicious Crab Meat PoBoy from one of the local food vendors. Those are the only vendors allowed here, locals. Its a very home grown event. Which is cool.
That Saturday the headliners were (playing at the same times) Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Pitbull, and Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band…. all on different stages. So after we found some gelado and rested our tired legs, we headed towards Lady Gaga. Man can that girl sing. The oldies type of music definitely helps her – she looked scarily normal and very down to earth, which is not what I was expecting. I was just waiting for her to break out into something ridiculous, but she kept it classy.
We decided to jump ship and wander past Pitbull so Amy could get a video for her dad, which was PACKED, and the dude barely sang. He more or less just gyrated around the stage… Although one funny moment they started playing a remixed intro to Sweet Child of Mine and the older lady next to me goes “OMG IS THAT A JOURNEY SONG?!”…. oh honey…. bless your heart.
I’ve been wanting to see Jimmy Buffet for the longest time. It’s always looked like so much fun with all those parrot heads. He certainly did not dissapoint!
The second weekend was the BIG weeekend. Amy and I had been planning to attend this weekend… it was ELTON JOHN. Seriously, an icon. Like you’re really going to say “nah, I’ll skip it”. Amy’s dad found us cheaper tickets which was cool (only $63!) for the whole day. OK, so Elton wasn’t the only headliner, but he’s the only one I cared about… Ed Sheeran was there….. so was T.I. but I wanted to SEE Sir Elton himself.
I would have gotten a shot of the crawfish beignets we tried, but they were so delicious that I ate them before I even thought about pulling my phone out…. whoops!
It was the most crowded weekend a lot of the regulars had ever seen. And not surprisingly. The aerial shots of the grounds were incredible. An article I found said that a whopping 460,000 people total attended both weekends, which is the highest attendance since Katrina. Good News for NOLA! Could you move? nope. Did we care? not one bit. I had packed snacks and water. I was staying put. As people started leaving too we moved up, so I did get some really good shots. Jerry Lee Lewis performed before Elton, Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire! that dude is old.
Ok, ok, enough about everyone else. Here are my favorite shots of Elton 🙂
His Jacket says “Captain Fantastic” across his shoulders. because, why not. When you’re Elton John you don’t have to explain anything.
All in all a fabulous festival weekend. Apparently it’s festival season here in NOLA now with that kicking it off, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes to town!
A quick list of bands we saw in 2 Saturdays (off the top of my head):
- Cowboy Mouth
- Louisiana Rail Company
- Tony Bennet & Lady Gaga
- Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band
- Jerry Lee Lewis
- Elton John