“Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler”(Let the Good Times Roll)
Since 1970, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, more commonly known as Jazz Fest, has brought thousands of music lovers to the Big Easy. Under George Wein’s (founder of the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival) guidance, the vision of a large daytime fair with multiple stages featuring a diverse range of music styles, Louisiana cuisine food booths, Louisianans arts and crafts booths, and an evening concert series throughout the city was realized. In addition to local customs, he emphasized African, Caribbean, and French culture, and was able to present the music, cuisine, and crafts of various cultures to the world through Jazz Fest in a way that was both enjoyable and exciting.
The 350 people who attended the first Jazz Fest has grown to an average of 70,000 visitors per-day over the seven days of the Festival held annually on the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. Here’s 2023’s music lineup for both weekends and each of the 13 stages and music styles spread around the huge fairgrounds.
As exciting as all the fantastic music is, it’s the food that makes Jazz Fest so special. With its official food policy of “no carnival food”, there are more than seventy food booths that include local dishes like Cochon de Lait, Andouille Sausage, Soft-shell Crab, and Oyster Po’Boys, Cajun Jambalaya, Crawfish and Sausage Jalapeño Stuffed Breads, Muffulettas, Creole Red Beans and Rice, Pralines, Bread Pudding, Beignets, and the mother of all Jazz Fest dishes, Crawfish Monica. All food vendors are small, locally owned businesses. To check out this year’s list of food booths and what they’re serving, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make to New Orleans this year, my Hungry Traveler has complied the best recipes from Jazz Fest that you can make at home. So, crank-up the music, grab something to drink, cook-up some amazing dishes for a big party…and let the good times roll!