Jazz Fest Survival Guide

If you’re heading to New Orleans this weekend or next for Jazz Fest, here are some tips for surviving a day at the Fair Grounds:

1/ Don’t try to look cute. It’s going to be HOT, crowded and flat. So, wear comfy clothes, extra comfy shoes, a hat, sunglasses and no jewelry.

2/ Sunscreen is a must unless you plan to hang out in the Gospel tent all day.

3/ Keep your hands free for eating and drinking on the go. Unlike other festivals, the food at Jazz Fest is fatteningly delicious and you will be tempted, so go ahead, try an oyster pattie or crawfish sausage poboy.

4/ When you need to cool off a bit, walk through the crafts market tents. There’s always unique handmade crafts from art to clothing and it’s a great way to support small businesses.

5/ If at all possible, attend the fest with a boat load of friends for an instant party!

6/ Join one of the several parades around the Fair Grounds each day and learn to second line with the dance masters.

7/ Check and re-check the music schedule before you arrive to insure that you don’t miss your favorite artists on the weekend that they are performing. And remember many of the major acts like Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, Bon Jovi, Kenny G, the Neville Brothers, John Legend, The Roots, Cyndi Lauper and Dr. John usually take the stage in the afternoons and early evening, so plan accordingly.

8/ If you want to take a multi-use accessory to the Fair Grounds, it should be an umbrella which can shade you from the sun, protect you from an unexpected downpour or be used when you second line during the parade. 

9/ Take the next day off from work in advance because after a day at the Fair Grounds you will be calling off sick anyway.

10/ If you can’t dance, no worries, after a few drinks the Jazz Fest crowd won’t notice. Dance! Groove! Be free!

Bonus tip! If you want to impress the locals, tell them that this year’s Congo Squarefestival poster is not only a major collector’s item, but also a reissue of the famous 1976 poster of festival grand marshal Matthew “Fat” Houston created by artist Kenneth Scott, Jr.

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