Jazz Fest First-Timers Take Note

One of our readers, “Coach,” wrote us with his Jazz Fest guide for first-timers. Here it is. If you’ve got additions or other ideas that Coach may have missed, let us know. We may need to post your suggestions as well.

Here are my band suggestions. Try to see them at night time as well as during daytime. Or mix and match it up. Or do whatever the hell you want to do. There’s so much going on that planning (at least for me) borders on ludicrous and lots of people will end up getting pissed off that you’re not “on plan.”

Trombone Shorty, by Aaron Lafont

Rebirth – MUST see, indoors/outdoors, early/late. They’re the epitome of a great NOLA brass band.

Trombone Shorty – MUST see, he’s the most “on-friggin’ fire” guy going. He’ll have an amazing, eclectic assortment of stars with him.

Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys – MUST see for authentic rockin’ zydeco, another legend Rosie is.

The Stooges Brass Band, the Soul Rebels, TBC Brass Band, New Birth Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen, etc. – All have their own charm and infectious enthusiasm. Always fun.

Anders Osborne, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, John Mooney all blow doors off.

Big Chief Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias – They always play on Sunday at “Coach’s Spot,” Heritage Stage, for those of you who don’t know or haven’t seen me there in the past 17 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– At the Fest, make an effort to check out all stages, even if for just a song or two. Hidden gems abound. Also, the grandstand has air-conditioning, long lines at much cleaner restrooms (for those that give a sh*t) than steaming hot, feces-laden port-o-potties (nice visual, eh?). I like the respite of AC personally, but only briefly.

Anders Osborne

– If you want to see a headliner, plan ahead.  Find a spot in front of one of the two big stages right after the previous bands set ends. Fest is very good at keeping the bands on track timewise. Otherwise, NOLA has two times: It’s either getting darker or it’s getting lighter.  Bring your shades when you go out at night!!!!



The best shows start after 2:00 am, hands down. Sleep when you get home!!!!!

Maple Leaf is a favorite, as is Tipitina’s (always a clusterf**k at Fest though) and Rock-n-Bowl (I think you all will really like this place, just a hunch). Gotta get a Bloody Mary at Igor’s with two caveats; 1) the sun must be coming up and 2) you have not slept. Talk about a freakshow!!!!!!


Jazz Fest vets: What do you have to add? What do first-timers need to know? Or has Coach pretty much covered it?

  • Jazz Fest Vet

    NO BEADS – BEAD SEASON ENDED ON ASH WEDNESDAY. – couldn’t agree w/u more Coach

  • funkyfester

    Spot On Coach … Cant wait to see you down there for #18. FYI … They are closing the grandstand bathrooms this year :0(  … First Timers – You are better off exiting the Fest Fairgrounds and going to the first pub you can find :0) … Oh … and as a courtesy to all of us festers that have been going for 15+ years… Please feel free to give up your spot in line for entry, bathroom and drinks to all of us old f**kers … You will appreciate doing so someday ! …

  • Coach0420

    see you at the Fairgrounds on Friday or Liuzza’s after or…..somewhere else