[Hammond] The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, better known as Jazz Fest, has been extremely important to people throughout its 17 years of existence.
The festival was started in April of 1970. Mahalia Jackson and Duke Ellington were credited with giving Jazz Fest its particular spirit in the story of how Jazz Fest was created on the festival’s website. This spirit has been honed into what people can expect from the festival.
The festival has different attractions other than music. They offer crafts, culture and food. Each of these things are particular to the New Orleans area and their culture. Lists of activities can be found on www.nojazzfest.com
The festival lineup is also on the website. The link for artists who wish to apply for Jazz Fest has been removed from the website. The deadline was October 1, 2014. The acts are limited to Louisiana bands to perpetuate the culture of New Orleans.
This means that they have had participants in the festival that were not exactly famous artists. There are different tents located all over the fair ground for different types of music.
Ty’neka Allen, a Southeastern Louisiana University student, was lucky enough to perform at the gospel tent at the 2011 Jazz Fest. She was a junior in high school when she performed at 16 years old.
Allen performed with her school’s choir at the tent. She said other schools were invited to perform at the Jazz and Heritage festival. The schools that performed in the gospel tent got to sing with gospel singers.
There has always been audiences for these performances. Tickets for these performances are sold online and at the venue.
Ani Boudreaux, a freshman at Louisiana State University, has attended Jazz Fest since 2011, but her parents have been attending for years. Boudreaux said, “At this point it is just a tradition to go even if there is not someone she wants to see there.”
She went on to say that there has usually been someone she wanted to see at every festival. It was always someone she was willing to sit at the fence all day and wait for them. Boudreaux said “They like the atmosphere, the food, and of course the music” and that the music festival scene was just something she enjoyed.
The environment has always been a reason the Boudreaux’s go back every year. Ani said “I can always feel the music moving through me and I love when the crowd moves together as one.” Boudreaux liked the feeling of being amazed by all the artists and not having to travel far from home to see them.
Boudreaux described the 2013 festival experience as a mudfest rather than a music fest. “It was the probably the worst experience because it was so muddy and people were up to their ankles in mud.” Brooke Bourlet, another freshman at Louisiana State University, accompanied Boudreaux to the festival and agreed about the environment at the 2013 festival.
Bourlet said “It was a filthy setting.” Bourlet called it “quicksand”. She said “There were people actually covered in mud.”
Bourlet was a first timer to the 2013 festival. She went because this was her first opportunity to participate in it. She said she “Loved the experience and was happy to go without thinking about it much.”
Bourlet said that despite the mud she would go again. She was invited to the festival the day before without any earlier mentions of the concerts. Bourlet stood in line for a while before the show she wanted to see started. Bourlet even wore boots that were too small for her to keep her feet clean of the mud just to go to concerts.
People have gone to great measures just to attend the festival. It has meant a lot to some people while others have not experienced it. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival brought together plenty of different people for different reasons.
The festival is a tradition for the city and its participants. The festival has brought people from all over the country to New Orleans just because of artists performing, but there was always more to the festival than just the music.