Apr 25, 2024 - Music

Jazz Fest 2024: Your guide to the first weekend

Social aid and pleasure club members dance in a second-line through a food area at Jazz Fest.

The Young Men Olympian Association second-lines at Jazz Fest in 2018. Photo: Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Jazz Fest returns today, turning the Fair Grounds into a city within a city, dedicated to live music and local food, arts and crafts.

Why it matters: Jazz Fest is one of New Orleans' largest and most consistent economic drivers — and it's just a lot of fun.

The lineup this weekend includes headliners like Widespread Panic, The Killers, Jon Batiste, Chris Stapleton, Heart and Vampire Weekend.

  • As is the norm, music venues beyond Fair Grounds are also lighting up with stellar programming all week long. Go deeper for Gambit's guide.

What's new: In 2024, the Cultural Exchange Pavilion will celebrate Columbia's art and music.

What's eatin': Panorama Foods brings back its crawfish bread, and Marie's Sugar Dumplings, which makes sweet potato pies and Chelsea's favorite turnovers, also returns.

What's missing: Jazz Fest is losing CD sales with a shift at the Rhythmporium to no longer sell physical music at the Fair Grounds. Go deeper.

The weather looks gorgeous. Expect it to be sunny and breezy with spotty clouds and highs in the low 80s.

Good reminders: The festival went cashless last year, and that continues this year, so don't forget your credit cards.

The bottom line: This year's festival "will be big in every aspect," event founder Quint Davis said earlier this year.

  • "It's the most food vendors, the most food items, the most artists and the most bands" Jazz Fest has ever had, he said.

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