The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival celebrates the culture and heritage of Louisiana. Each and every year, thousands of tourists descend on the Cresent City to benefit from its fruits.
Popular local and regional artists such as Fats Domino, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Pete Fountain, Branford Marsalis, Dr. John, the Neville Brothers featuring Aaron Neville, Better Than Ezra, Irma Thomas, The Radiators, Cowboy Mouth, Buckwheat Zydeco, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Beausoleil have thrilled audiences at past Festivals. Internationally renowned stars such as Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Santana, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Max Roach, B.B. King, Dave Matthews Band, Patti LaBelle, Sting, the Allman Brothers Band, Joni Mitchell, Al Green, Linda Ronstadt, Lenny Kravitz, Sonny Rollins, Bonnie Raitt, James Brown, Willie Nelson, The Temptations, India.Arie, and Van Morrison take their places alongside the best local favorites. A Who’s Who of legends have appeared: Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Professor Longhair, Miles Davis, Clifton Chenier, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Al Hirt, and Sarah Vaughan.
In addition to the well-known stars, there are numerous surprises, such as the Neptune Jazz Band of Zimbabwe, Les Ballets Bacoulou d’Haiti, Tanably of Côte d’Ivoire, and the International Children’s Theatre of Ghana.
The festival is held during two long weekends on the park-like infield of the Fair Grounds Race Course. The Fair features 12 performance stages that run simultaneously: 3 main stages, 1 intermediate stage, 4 giant tents (Gospel, blues, traditional jazz, contemporary jazz), one stage for an assortment of musical styles (Lagniappe), the Kids’ Tent, the Native American Village Stage, and the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, which features discussions of Louisiana culture and musical performances. Other heritage areas are: Louisiana Folklife Village, the International Pavilion, and the Food Heritage Area (one stage and the Cajun Cabin).
The Heritage Fair presents over 65 food booths that sell a mouth-watering variety of famous local culinary specialties. Over 100 different dishes are offered including: crawfish etouffée, gumbo, jambalaya, oyster po-boys, sweet potato pies, barbecued alligator, and more. The Heritage Fair portion of the Festival also features over 100 craftspeople, traditional and contemporary, who demonstrate their skills and sell their wares.
The Festival is presented and governed by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Inc., a Louisiana nonprofit corporation. It is a co-production of Festival Productions Louisiana, LLC. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Festival Productions, Inc.-New Orleans) and AEG Louisiana Production, LLC.(a subsidiary of AEG Live).