The New Orleans Jazz Fest line-up for 2020 is out! And we couldn’t be more excited – with folks like The Who, Dead & Co, Lizzo and Lionel to name a few – it’s going to be yet another EPIC year.
If you’d like someone to customize an exceptional one-of-a-kind Jazz Fest visit, contact us today and we will pull together something that is uniquely tailored to you.
If you’re just looking for some tips – read on…
First and foremost, make sure you bring the right gear – specifically rain gear. April/May is notoriously rainy in New Orleans and The Fairgrounds can get really muddy so you will need rain boots. We will wear rain boots and bring flip flops in a bag. When it’s hot, it can be a drag wearing rain boots all day. This way you can just put the boots on when you’re heading to a muddy area (like where the food tents are).
Be sure to map out who you really want to see ahead of time. Jazz Fest has an app, but we must admit, the old school “cubes” that are published in the newspaper is our favorite way to track who is playing when. Every year, Offbeat Magazine, a free local New Orleans publication, publishes the cubes in a convenient pocket size. Also, be sure to throw in a few unknowns into the mix. One of our favorite stages is the Jazz & Heritage Stage which is often filled with local New Orleans acts; if you have some spare time – stop by. The Gospel Tent is always inspirational.
Get there early and make a full day of it. The earlier you arrive, the more you get to take advantage of at the fairgrounds. Jazz Fest fills up as the hours go by during the day – when you arrive early, you get the pick of all the great food stands and great positioning near the front of any stage you choose. Plus, you can check out some of the more obscure performers who deserve a good crowd to support them – particularly the many acts that travel from far away. Everyone Jazz Fest’s a little differently.
Our pro tip is to camp out at a certain spot at the Fairgrounds. Take a look at which stage you will visit the most that day and establish a little area for yourself to come and go. BUT don’t leave you stuff without someone there and take up valuable real estate while you walk the fairgrounds for hours – that’s considered rude. We always have someone parked at our spot.
The food and the crafts are all just as top notch as the music – give yourself time to really take in all the great vendors who invest their time & energy into Jazz Fest. They come from far & wide. Plus, it’s always great to have a souvenir from the festival. We often travel to the fairgrounds with our friends as a group and thus, we pool our resources for beer runs. For those who have never been the Jazz Fest before, you can order a bunch of assorted beers along with a box and a nice big piece of ice which also comes in handy when it’s really hot out.
Speaking of the heat – DO NOT forget the sunscreen. There is very little shade at the fairgrounds. Another great reason to visit one of the tents – Blues, Gospel, etc. Also, pack those rain boots; they’ve come in very handy these past few years. If you forget them, stop at Walmart or one of the other local retailers to pick up some shrimp boots. They’re not too expensive and they’ll be critical if it’s muddy at the fairgrounds.
Bathroom tip! There are people pleasers (portable bathroom trailers) that are often times air conditioned and slightly more comfortable than using an actual port a potty. Especially if you’re at the fairgrounds with kids. Make note of where they are because we’ve also found that the lines are better for the most part. Also, make note of the headliners – the really big names; you’ll want to strategize the most ideal bathrooms based on where these big names are performing.
Lastly, parking yourself on the outside track for a big show is also considered impolite. Have fun and we will see you at this year’s Jazz Fest!