Cities Journal

Jazz And So Much More In The Big Easy


Jazz has its roots deep in the history of New Orleans and vice-versa. The two have been interconnected even since before jazz became jazz and it is only natural that Big Easy will also be the place of the most honest and genuine jazz festival in the country and the world – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

While it is true that the Mardi Gras is the bigger event and the more publicized one, if you ask anyone who actually knows a thing or two about jazz music and the culture surrounding it, they will tell you that this is the festival to visit and that this is time when New Orleans truly breathes and lives jazz and everything that has to do with it.

The festival itself began in 1970s and it was associated with the founding of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, with which it still holds inseparable ties. The first year was truly legendary, with the lineup which included Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Mahalia Jackson and Clifton Chenier, among others. Number of attendees? Around 350. Today, more than 150,000 people attend the festival in one day.

The Festival is a true celebration of Jazz and other types of music, including Cajun, gospel, zydeco, funk, blues, rock, Latin, Caribbean, African and even folk music. It is also a festival where you can eat well and drink even better and where you will not feel a sucker because someone is asking you for your arm and a leg to be able to afford the ticket. It is music for real music fans.

If you were wondering about the lineup, just check out this video.

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