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New Orleans Jazz Fest Features Regional Music, Culture and Food

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While New Orleans is home to dozens of festivals throughout the year, one of the largest – the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell – is unlike any other. Held over the course of two weekends in the spring, and attracting about 460,000 people each year, Jazz Fest is an internationally known event that brings in an eclectic mix of talented artists and musicians.

The festival takes place inside the third oldest horse racing track in the country, and features music genres such as blues, gospel, rock, funk, Afro-Caribbean, folk, hip-hop, rap and zydeco, and everything in between. Jazz Fest artists include national bands, jazz legends and local musicians.

With 70 different locally owned food vendors selling Louisiana favorites on-site, Jazz Fest cuisine has become one of the event’s premiere features. The festival offers something for every taste, and best-sellers include fried green tomatoes and popular Cajun cuisine.

For younger visitors, Jazz Fest offers a designated children’s area with crafts, music, games and parades. Small festival goers can spend time in the kids’ tent and munch on kid-friendly food options such as macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and peanut butter sandwiches.

Festivalgoers can browse and purchase hand-made goods inspired by the festival’s unique, cultural influences. A tradition since the 1970s, the festival’s crafts now include the diverse works of hundreds of regionally and nationally acclaimed artists. Crafts are organized into three marketplaces: the Louisiana Marketplace, the Congo African Square Marketplace and Contemporary Crafts. 

Photo Credit: New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau; Douglas Mason