In a calendar packed with festivals celebrating everything from the blues and oysters to zydeco and tomatoes, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival—aka Jazz Fest—stands out. It’s the star of festival season, drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees each year. At its heart, Jazz Fest celebrates the music, food and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana.
What is Jazz Fest?
At the Fest you can see jazz, but so much more. The lineup includes blues, funk, brass, zydeco, gospel, rap, rock and other genres from Crescent City icons and regional up-and-comers. Big name headliners are brought in each year as well. It’s a chance to see a major act in a laid-back environment and the opportunity to sample some of the best local music all in one spot. On top of all that music, you can dive into the food and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana too.
This year is extra special as The Rolling Stones will finally make an appearance at Jazz Fest. Their long-awaited (previously canceled twice, due to health issues then COVID), much-anticipated gig has garnered an extra day of the Fest, extending it to eight days over two weekends. Needless to say, this year’s Fest is set to be a memorable one. Here’s everything you need to know about Jazz Fest 2024, from tickets and transportation to food picks and Fest-adjacent events.
When is Jazz Fest?
Jazz Fest is always held over two weekends: the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. Usually seven days (the second weekend includes a Thursday), this year’s Fest will be eight days. The second Thursday is traditionally “Locals’ Thursday” with a special reduced rate for Louisiana residents, but as The Rolling Stones will perform on that Thursday, May 2 (a separately ticketed day), an additional Thursday has been added to the first weekend that will serve as Locals’ Thursday.
Jazz Fest 2024 will take place from Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 28, and Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 5.
Where is Jazz Fest?
Jazz Fest is held at the Fair Grounds Race Course—an active horse racing track—on Gentilly Boulevard in Mid-City. The Fair Grounds is about 10 minutes from the French Quarter, and easily accessible by public transportation, bike and car (though as the surrounding neighborhood is residential, parking can be hard to come by).
How much are Jazz Fest tickets?
Tickets are available on the official Jazz Fest website.
Single day tickets
Single Day GA tickets (except May 2, the day The Rolling Stones play) are $95. Tickets at the gate (other than May 2) will be $105. A limited number of single-day tickets for May 2 are available for $225.
A limited number of weekend passes are available as well: $320 for the first weekend (includes all four Fest days), $495 for the second weekend (all four Fest days, including The Rolling Stones), or $270 for the second weekend (Friday through Sunday only).
New this year is a GA+ 4-day option. The GA+ ticket—available for all four days each weekend at $549 and $799 respectively—includes re-entry, a private stand for beverage purchases, private restrooms in the GA+ Lounge and express entry at both pedestrian gates.
For a cushy, upgraded Jazz Fest experience, Big Chief VIP, Grand Marshal VIP and Krewe of Jazz Fest tickets offer a range of perks from special seating to private restrooms, drink stations, parking and more. These tickets start at $850.
What is the Jazz Fest lineup?
The Rolling Stones are obviously the biggest name in the Jazz Fest lineup, but other big-name headliners include Foo Fighters, Neil Young, Crazy Horse, and Anderson .Paak, Queen Latifah and The Killers. But the heart of the fest is the local bands, just a few of which include Irma Thomas, Jon Batiste, Juvenile with Mannie Fresh, Soul Rebels, Cyril Neville, Leo Nocentelli, Dumpstaphunk, Trombone Shorty and many, many more. The Cultural Exchange Pavilion celebrates the cultural heritage of a different country or region each year, and 2024 will put the spotlight on Colombia.
The daily lineup is available on the Jazz Fest website, but the full lineup with stages and times—aka “The Cubes”—will be released by early April.
What food can I get at Jazz Fest?
Jazz Fest food is as impressive as the music, and many festival attendees prioritize the flavors over the vibes. Trust us: you’ll want to try everything. Two dedicated food areas (plus more vendors scattered about) offer New Orleans eats, Louisiana flavors, and international bites. Highlights include crawfish Monica, the cochon de lait po-boy, fried alligator, red beans and rice, mango freeze, and crawfish bread. Bring several friends to share (and if you’re a real pro, bring ziplocs to take home these fab foods, as many are only available at the Fest!).
What else can I do at Jazz Fest?
In addition to fabulous food and music, Jazz Fest promotes the culture and heritage of New Orleans and Louisiana, not to mention other countries whose culture has influenced the city. Head to the Grandstand to check out exhibits and sit in on cooking demos from acclaimed local chefs. For a double-dip, the Grandstand is also where you can listen to interviews with some of the musicians performing at the Fest. Be sure to also check out an abundance of crafts that range from jewelry and pottery to sculpture and art. You’ll also find local artisans demonstrating their skills, from woodcarving and weaving to glassblowing and accordion-making. There’s even a kids' tent with entertainment for the little ones. Keep an eye out for frequent Second Lines weaving their way through the festival grounds.
The fun doesn’t stop there, though. After the Fest, you can find plenty more music, all night long. Nightly lineups at clubs around town are even more packed during the Fest, and occasionally, visiting national artists sit in on small stages. A good source for after-hours events is Jazz Fest Grids. One of the biggest events is the annual Daze Between at Faubourg Brewery on April 30 and May 1, featuring headliners Lettuce and Gov’t Mule supported by the likes of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Eric Krasno, and local faves Galactic, Iceman Special, and The Rumble. Midnight Preserves, a series of late-night musical collaborations at Preservation Hall featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and surprise special guests, is an annual highlight. Past guest artists include Pete Townsend, Gary Clark, Jr., Robert Plant, Sharon Jones, Elvis Costello, and many more.
More late-night shows will be announced as the Fest gets closer.
What should I bring to Jazz Fest?
April and May in New Orleans are typically hot and sunny, so wear cool clothing. Definitely bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. If there’s been rain, wear your rain boots or old sneakers (no flip-flops) because there will almost certainly be mud. Collapsible chairs, blankets, and tarps are allowed as long as you stay in designated chair areas.
There are several things you can’t bring to the Fest, including pets, wagons, hard-sided coolers, tents, drones and a list of other prohibited items listed here. The Fest is also cashless, so leave your cash at home. Vendors will accept major credit cards and digital payment methods and cash exchange booths will be located near vendor areas.
Where should I stay during Jazz Fest?
Check out our guide to where to stay in New Orleans. The French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods all offer easy access to the Fairgrounds. The Sheraton New Orleans is the official host hotel, while Expedia is the official travel partner of Jazz Fest.