Jazz Fest Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary
I’d like to say, “Kudos” to the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on this remarkable milestone that they plan to celebrate in style. For starters, the Festival is giving itself a special birthday present: an extra day added to each weekend. The 2019 Jazz Fest will expand to eight days at the Fair Grounds – starting with Thursday, April 25th. Both weekends of the festival will now run Thursday through Sunday: April 25-28 and May 2-5.
The term “Jazz Fest” also refers to the days surrounding the festival and the many shows (at unaffiliated New Orleans nightclubs) that are scheduled during the festival weekends. And remember: it isn’t just about jazz. It’s jazz and heritage. This means “any music that jazz inspired” such as: blues, gospel, Afro-Caribbean, folk, country, zydeco, Cajun – you name it.
THE JAZZ FEST BEGAN WITH 350 ATTENDEES
The first festival, held in Louis Armstrong Park, featured legendary artists such as Duke Ellington, Mahalia Jackson and Fats Domino. Only 350 people attended the first Jazz Fest. But, the attendance numbers grew, so the Fest was moved to the larger Fair Grounds Race Course a year later. By the late seventies the festival had grown from one weekend to two. The Fair Grounds Race Course is a thoroughbred racetrack located at 1751 Gentilly Boulevard or 11 minutes, via Esplanade Avenue, from the French Quarter.
IT’S A FEAST OF MUSIC, FOOD AND CULTURE
It takes a well-bred racehorse about two minutes to complete a race at the Fair Grounds track – it will take you a little longer to make your way from one PERFORMANCE TENT to another because the festival is a big draw – and is expected to have even a larger turnout to celebrate this special anniversary year. There are a total of 12 tents – here is a pared-down sampling:
The Gospel Tent features earth-shaking gospel music
The Economy Hall Tent offers New Orleans “trad” jazz with the likes of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Blues Tent will give you blues, R&B, funk and, periodically “rock”
Fais-Do-Do Stage keeps things lively with Cajun and zydeco
The Acura Stage is where the biggest names in music appear
The Kids’ Tent comes through with music for children plus family-friendly activities
YOU’LL ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE FOOD
In addition to the obvious musical draw, Jazz Fest is famous for its food stalls. Some of the more popular Fest foods include:
Fried soft shell crab
Crawfish Monica (cream crawfish sauce over fusilli (pasta that is formed into a corkscrew), and
Cochon de Lait which is aptly described as, “tender pork that melts in your mouth”
Have we convinced you to come to New Orleans for Jazz Fest? Then why not stay at the stately, antebellum Rathbone Mansion located at 1244 Esplanade Avenue? We are six minutes (yes, you read that correctly) from The Fair Grounds Track and two blocks from the northeast corner of the French Quarter. We offer a unique experience: no two rooms are alike plus you’ll find many superb eating and drinking spots close by.