Review: 50 Years of New Orleans Jazz Fest

by Lydia Frimston
New Orleans Jazz Fest

New Orleans Jazz Fest & Heritage Festival is a vibrant cultural experience. On the 50th Anniversary of Jazz Fest we were graced with an incredible selection of artists, from Earth Wind and Fire to Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Santana and Jimmy Cliff.

But make no mistake, Jazz Fest isn’t all about Jazz, there’s a huge range of genres from Cuban to Middle Eastern and Hip-Hop and Funk.

New Orleans Jazz Fest Big Screen

The festival is spread out over two weekends; Thursday to Sunday. Earth Wind and Fire headlined on the opening Thursday, they were insane, high energy throughout, playing to a massive crowd that braved the torrential rain during the afternoon to be rewarded with sweltering sunshine.

New Orleans Jazz Fest stage

Santana took to the stage on Friday night. Carlos Santana began by playing some of his classics, Oye Como Va and Black Woman Magic. Cindy Blackman Santana joined her partner on the drums and Louisiana legend Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) later joined the stage to play and extend their set. There were a few covers mixed in as well, the Latin style rendition of “September” was a great touch. 

New Orleans Jazz Fest trumpet

The Gospel tent was out of this world, some amazing vocals from such a wide variety of people, not my usual style but it was an uplifting experience.

New Orleans Jazz Fest

The food is out of this world, I could go to Jazz Fest and spend my time eating and I would leave satisfied. There’s a big emphasis on seafood and meat but there’s a fair amount of vegetarian options.

New Orleans Jazz Fest band

At the end of the day, Jazz Fest is as much a celebration of New Orleans as it is music. The love that the festival organisers and attendees have for the city creates such a joyful atmosphere, one of the best and most vibrant festivals in the USA for sure.

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