It’s little wonder that what began as a musical festival has evolved over the past four decades into an all-out musical, cultural and heritage festival celebrating the very things that make up the foundation of both New Orleans itself and the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Mahalia Jackson and Duke Ellington were the major names at the inaugural event in 1970, and to this day, the festival attracts the best-known names, not just in jazz, but in numerous other musical forms from the U.S. and abroad as well. In time, the festival has come to represent the breadth of New Orleans’ culture and of the music it fostered and inspired.
This year’s 10-day festival runs April 26-May 5 with a busy lineup of performances April 26-28 and May 2-5, with other event components continuing between the two music-driven weekends. Performers include such well-known names as John Mayer, George Benson, Billy Joel, Jill Scott, Allen Toussaint, Dave Matthews Band, B.B. King, Gipsy Kings, Maroon 5, The Mavericks, Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Ocean, The Black Keys, Hall & Oates and dozens of others, in addition to jazz stylists of all stripes and performers from around the globe.
New Orleans’ fair grounds will play host to the festival with numerous stages, plenty of local and regional cuisine, cultural exchanges, arts and crafts representing numerous cultures. Numerous special events also take place in conjunction with the Festival, including the 15th annual Jazz & Heritage Gala on April 25.
The Festival is notably self-contained, permitting guests to enjoy New Orleans’ vaunted cuisine right on site with countless offerings representing the many culinary influences of the region – notably Creole and Cajun, French, African and Southern American flavors. In combination with thousands of enthusiastic music lovers, terrific performances and a host of entertainment and recreation options, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is sure to make for a quintessential immersive travel experience.
Sheraton New Orleans Hotel is the official host hotel of the Jazz Festival and centrally located for convenience. Some 1,100 non-smoking guest rooms include 53 suites, and many have views of the Mississippi River or French Quarter. The Sheraton Fitness club lets guests stay in shape while enjoying local cuisine and libations, and the Club Lounge permits busy professionals to stay firmly linked in. Comfort and service are excellent, and the concierge service is sure to be well prepared for the occasion. www.starwoodhotels.com
Astor Crowne Plaza is a Four Diamond hotel located at the corner of Canal and Bourbon streets in the midst of the vaunted French Quarter. Amenities include a rooftop pool, fitness center, concierge, 24-hour room service and wireless high speed internet. Classic Southern hospitality blends with French-inspired flourishes for a comfortable and convenient stay in the Crescent City. www.ichotelsgroup.com
Bienville House Hotel is a historic boutique hotel in the French Quarter for those looking for a quieter experience away from the festival. A romantic tropical courtyard and pool, four landscaped terraces and wrought-iron balconies set a distinct New Orleans tone carried on by warm, personalized service. www.bienvillehouse.com
Schedule: April 26-May 5, 2013
Location: New Orleans, La.
Venue: Fair Grounds Race Course
Getting There: The Jazz Fest Express provides round-trip shuttle service to the festival from several designated sites in the city, including the official host hotel, the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. For more information, call 800.535.7786
Lineup: A veritable who’s who of the jazz and general music greats including John Mayer, George Benson, Billy Joel, Jill Scott, Allen Toussaint, Dave Matthews Band, B.B. King, Gipsy Kings, Maroon 5, The Mavericks, Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Ocean, The Black Keys, Hall & Oates and scores of others, in addition to performers from around the world.
Plan: It’s a good idea to plan your accommodations with consideration of pick-up locations for the Jazz Fest Express sites – it is the easiest way to access the Festival.
Protect: Spring under the open sun in New Orleans can be rough, so come prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and comfortable shoes.
Ingest: Make sure to enjoy prototypical New Orleans dishes such as crawfish, gumbo, alligator, a po-boy, jambalaya, muffuletta and beignets to name but a few essentials.