Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Since its inception in 1970, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, commonly known as Jazz Fest, has grown into a culturally significant annual event. Jazz Fest is a celebration of New Orleans culture and music held during the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May at the Fair Grounds Race Course.

The first festival started out very small. It was held at Congo Square, over five days with a couple of musicians and bands including Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington and Fats Domino. Around 350 people were in attendance. By 1976, the festival expanded to two weekends. The 1990s brought about an addition of an international stage as well as a Native American Stage.

Over 40 years later, Jazz Fest has grown into an internationally known festival. Twelve different tents and stages host an array of musicians. Jazz isn’t the only music heard at Jazz Fest. The music ranges from traditional jazz, R&B, gospel, zydeco, and Cajun, to folk, rock, pop, latin and world music. There are also many cultural activities and presentations held throughout the Fair Grounds.  More than 400,000 music lovers will enjoy all that Jazz Fest has to offer over 7 days this year.

Artists playing at Jazz this year include: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Eagles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ne-Yo, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Bon Iver, The Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas and more.

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