Jazz Festival in New Orleans

History of Jazz Fest in New Orleans


Jazz Festival in New Orleans started in 1970 as a celebration of the rich musical and cultural heritage of New Orleans and South Louisiana.  Since then, it has expanded into a two-week, internationally renowned cultural and artistic event, drawing visitors from all over the world and bringing tremendous financial impact to the city of New Orleans and its artists.  The original concept for a heritage festival in New Orleans was developed by George Wein, who had founded the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival.  Wein hired Allison Miner and Quint Davis, who together became the creative driving force behind the development of Jazz Fest.  Allison Miner, who passed away in 1995, remains the only person honored in the name of a Jazz Fest stage – the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage.  Quint Davis is still the CEO of Festival Productions, the company that produces the Jazz Festival in New Orleans.


Music at Jazz Fest in New Orleans


Jazz Fest began as a small festival, featuring local acts in Congo Square.  In addition to both traditional and contemporary jazz, visitors to New Orleans Jazz Fest can see acts from all over the musical spectrum, from country and bluegrass to rap and R&B, from Cajun and Zydeco to folk and gospel.  In addition, Jazz Fest draws many rock and pop acts with national and international followings.


Food at Jazz Fest in New Orleans


Visitors to Jazz Festival in New Orleans find a wide variety of local food to sample.  The food of New Orleans and South Louisiana is influenced by many cuisines, including French, Spanish, African, Caribbean, Italian, and many others.  Visitors to Jazz Fest can select from two kinds of jambalaya – Creole and Cajun, several kinds of gumbo – including Pheasant, Quail, and Andouille, and myriad preparations of delicious, spicy crawfish – including (but not limited to) crawfish strudel, crawfish monica, crawfish enchiladas, crawfish bread, crawfish beignets, crawfish sacks, crawfish bisque, crawfish pie, and just regular boiled crawfish.

Arts and Crafts at Jazz Fest in New Orleans

Traditional and contemporary artisans from all over the world compete each year for coveted spots at Jazz Fest.  The Cajun Village area focuses on the traditional arts and crafts of Louisiana life.  This area features crafts including pine-needle baskets, corn husk dolls, hand carved duck decoys, and traditional pirogues (which are basically Cajun canoes).  Stopping to watch the craftspeople at work is a favorite moment for many families who are interested in traditional Louisiana life.  The Contemporary crafts area features a diverse group of artisans, including jewelers, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers, painters, and sculptors.  Finally, the Congo Square crafts area features art and crafts from Africa, including fabric, jewelry, and musical instruments.  Arts and crafts fans of all ages and tastes can find something they like at Jazz Festival in New Orleans.