The 2017 edition of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell is finally here. Friday sets the beginning of the annual event that runs for two weeks, April 28 to April 30, and May 4 to May 7.
The New Orleans Festival headline brings back Stevie Wonder and includes Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds and Kings of Leon.
All about the New Orleans Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, or the Jazz Fest as is popularly known, is quite a party. The Fest takes place every year, celebrating the music and culture of New Orleans and Lousiana.
According to the Jazz Fest’s website, “the Festival celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, so the music encompasses every style associated with the city and the state: blues, R&B, gospel music, Cajun music, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk music, Latin, rock, rap music, country music, bluegrass, and everything in between. And of course, there is lots of jazz, both contemporary and traditional.”
The New Orleans Festival is held on the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May each year. It takes at the Fair Grounds Race Course, which is a horse racing track located in historic Mid-City.
The New Orleans Festival is a real part of the celebration of Jazz music and culture and constitutes the second largest tourist destination for New Orleans. During these two weekends, musical events take place around the city, even more than usual.
The Jazz Fest is held on an annual basis since 1970. Its first lineup included Mahalia Jackson who just showed up to sing, receiving an audience of only 350 people. The event has come a long way since then, now receiving thousands of attendees.
The New Orleans Festival serves a great community service as it follows the cultural celebration ideas. The festival is owned by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation uses the proceeds to develop community programs in the areas of education, economic development and culture.
In 2006, the festival changed its full name to The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. This came as since 2006 the festival’s main sponsor is the oil company Royal Dutch Shell.
All about the celebration of the festival
This year’s headline is pretty awesome. This past weekend some of the names included Maroon 5, Usher & The Roots, Alabama Shakes, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Lorde, Pitbull, George Benson, Dr. John, Elle King, and Gente de Zona.
Next weekend some of the names include Widespread Panic, Darius Rucker, Corinne Bailey Rae, Tower of Power, Herb Alpert & Lani Hall, beginning on Thursday, May 4.
Then on Friday May 5, Widespread Panic, Darius Rucker, Corinne Bailey Rae, Tower of Power, Herb Alpert & Lani Hall, A Salute to Louis Armstrong featuring Hugh Masekela and Dr. Michael White.
Saturday and Sunday will wrap Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Meghan Trainor, Irma Thomas, Kings of Leon, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and Patti LaBelle. These are just some of the names that are taking part of the celebration.
The Festival gathers 12 stages and tents of different sizes. The Acura Stage is the main stage, followed by the Gentilly Stage. Then Congo Square Stage presents Afro-centric music. The Jazz tent presents contemporary jazz, the Blues Tent brings the best blues bands.
Gospel groups and singers gather at the Gospel Tent, while cajun and zydeco groups gather at the Fais Do-Do Stage. Traditional New Orleans Jazz takes the Economy Hall Tent. And New Orleans brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians play at the Lagniappe Stage.
The Festival also brings interviews, conferences, and discussions that take place at the Allison Miner Music Heritage.
This year the Festival brings a historical celebration of Cuban culture. The New Orleans Jazz will host one of the largest celebrations of Cuban culture in the US since the 1950s.
Cuban musicians will have their own stage featuring bands including, Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro, Telmary y Habana Sana, Grupo Caury, Daymé Arocena, Adonis y Osain del Monte, Changüí Guantánamo among others.
The New Orleans Festival also brings a culinary experience in its 48th year with two food stages. The Food Heritage and Cajun Cabin Stages will feature both local and Cuban chefs. As attendees experience the cultural heritage they can grab one of their favorite dishes to make things even better.
New Orleans’ culinary experience includes Mango Freeze, crawfish beignets, cochon de lait sandwiches, alligator sausage po’ boy (sandwich), boiled crawfish, softshell crab po’boy, Cajun jambalaya, jalapeño bread.
The festival celebrates the multi-cultural influence on modern day food ways with different options which include vegan and vegetarian options. For a Cuban experience, you can enjoy tostones with mojo, which are fried green plantains with garlic sauce, and other delicious dishes.
Craft booths are dispersed in three areas of the grounds, the Congo Square African Marketplace, Contemporary Crafts, and the Louisiana Marketplace.