Originated in 1970, the spirit of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was birthed from Mahalia Jackson joining the Eureka Brass Band and a crowd of second-line revelers through the festival grounds and singing her way through the dozens of bystanders.
Did we mention Duke Ellington was in attendance?
Talk about right place right time, this was a movement and a heritage formed with no blueprint of how, when, or why any of it was happening. This happy accident went on to become what is today the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival.
Honoring its roots and culture, this festival has been chugging along for now 50 years and has no signs of slowing down! The festival was the culmination of luck and efforts by city leaders who wanted to create an event worth of the city’s tenured legacy as the birthplace of, you guessed it, jazz.
In 1970 George Wein, the founder of the Newport Jazz Fest, was hired to design and produce a unique festival for New Orleans. TNOJ&HF was started as a nonprofit organization to oversee the festivities.
A large daytime fair with multiple stages featuring a wide variety of native music, food booths, with the Louisiana cuisine you always hear being exalted, arts & crafts booth, along with an evening concert series proved to be a vastly appealing and enduring construct that the masses have stood behind for decades!
You don’t want to miss out on this gumbo pot of culture all in the birthplace of Jazz. 12 stages of soul-staggering music including jazz, gospel, blues, funk, soul, rock, Latin, folk, and many more.
The show usually harbors most of New Orleans born and bread greats including Harry Connick Jr., Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrew, The Radiators, Allen Toussaint, and many more!
The festival has also blended in a wide mix of internationally renowned guests, from Aretha Franklin to Miles Davis, all the way to Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie, Santana, Sarah Vaughan, Joni Mitchell, LL Cool J, and Erykah Badu.
Every year promises a new lineup of internationally and locally renowned talent that makes for an amazing mix of diverse culture, sound, talent, and fun! Doesn’t sound like something you’d like to miss out on does it?
To make matters even more special, this year will be the 50th annual celebration and is promised to be a special one as always!
The festival has received many honors, including being named Festival of the Year four times by Pollstar Magazine.
Life magazine has called it, “The countries best premier festival experience.”
The city of New Orleans and this festival are inseparable.