After far too long for everyone from vendors to fans, planners to musicians, Jazz Fest is finally returning. With that, we thought it would be a good idea to remind you of some tried and true tips for making the most of an amazing two weekends full of fun.
Be adventurous. No matter what day you go, there will be close to a hundred musical options happening. Do yourself a favor and see bands you wouldn't normally check out. All in one day, you can catch a zydeco show, hear a church choir, or listen to jazz, along with watching the big acts over at the Acura and Gentilly stages. It's almost like a music buffet. Help yourself to a little of everything. This is the perfect place for it.
Decide between sets. A festival is the perfect chance to see something old and something new. Jazz Fest is no exception, and the mix of music is exciting and never daunting. Having an idea of what you want to do will help you to maximize your Jazz Fest experience. You never know who you'll vibe with on any given day. Check out the daily picks on whereyat.com for recommendations on who to see each day.
Dress comfortably. The weather can be warm and sticky at times, but also it has been known to be rainy and messy—which can be half of the fun. Checking the weather each day before you leave for the fest is your best bet, as New Orleans is notorious for weather changes at a moment's notice. A light jacket is good for rain storms, while cargo pants are an ideal choice for people who are prone to having too much to hold all day.
Eat more than once. There are years where the food is more of a reward than the bands that played. That's Jazz Fest in a nutshell—a place where the eats are arguably as noteworthy as the entertainment. There's so much food at the fest that it's impossible to eat it all, and bringing to-go boxes to take home isn't a bad idea. Snacking throughout the day is optimal. Your best bet is to make sure to chase any drinks you might have with crawfish bread, jambalaya, or any of the hundreds of other options you'll find at the Fair Grounds.
Over party. New Orleans is a well-established party city, and with it comes a temptation for going overboard, especially for out-of-town guests. If you're going to drink alcohol, be sure to chase it with some water. Water is your friend at the fest. Be sure to factor in the heat, which can be intense—especially if you're partying all day. Not drinking alcohol is also a smart move, and there are lots of delicious nonalcoholic options at Jazz Fest. If you haven't tried the rosemint iced tea, you're missing out.
Forget a hat. Hats are a must for those sunny days. You'll notice large brims are a huge staple of Jazz Fest fashion, for obvious reasons—it's bright and hot out there, and there's a limited amount of shade. Because the fest is mostly during the day, you will miss a hat if you don't bring one. Sunscreen also goes a long way in helping you get through multiple days outdoors.
Be rude. If you're a seasoned veteran to the fest, as many are, you revel in the happiness, celebration, and atmosphere of the environment. That said, no one's perfect, and everyone has different styles, likes, and interests. This is a vacation for many people, and in these weird, quite conflicted times, attitudes can sometimes flare up, especially when you factor in the heat and drinking. There's always some conflict, but as long as you embrace the atmosphere and let things stay calm, everyone wins.
Park illegally. The grounds for the festival are massive, but the areas around the Fair Grounds are largely claimed way before the music starts. Parking in yards is a cottage industry, and in truth, plenty of folks have done it. However, catching a rideshare or being dropped off is always a smart idea. But beware—blocking a driveway or a business with your car will be a full stop at the end of the day if your car is towed. The nightmare of finding your car towed would ruin even the best time at the fest. Alternatively, if you're within a few miles of the Fair Grounds, or are a seasoned bicyclist, biking can be a fantastic way to go.