The New Orleans Jazz Festival is kind of a big deal and should definitely be on your radar. Taking place in February, the event is being headlined by Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Neil Young. As you can see, the talent present this year represents a wide range of diverse acts, some of whom fans may not immediately associate with jazz.
Spanning two weekends (April 22-24 and April 28-May 1), the event will feature other big names like Janelle Monae, Van Morrison, Nick Jonas, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Paul Simon, Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg and Beck. Single day tickets range from $60 to $75, depending on when you buy them, while several VIP passes are available from $600 to $1,400. Our first choice, The Big Chief VIP Experience gives you VIP entrance, access to special covered areas at the Acura and Gentilly Stages and entrance to the air-conditioned Big Chief hospitality lounge near the Grandstand where you can get drinks and a massage.
Photo Credit: Douglas Mason/New Orleans Jazz Festi
For some extra exclusivity, don’t forget to get a ticket for the 18th Annual Jazz & Heritage Gala in the Hilton Riverside Hotel on April 21. The black tie fundraiser often pulls in entertainment that you won’t see at the festival—like Willie Nelson, Ray Charles and Fats Domino—for an evening full of dancing and gourmet cuisine. Raising money for the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music, tickets cost $550 per person and $5,500 for a 10-person table.
Since you’ll need somewhere nice to get ready (and unwind post festival), make sure to book a room somewhere like The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans well in advance.