🎺😱Jazz Fest Round 2: Widespread Panic😱🎶

The first rule of any situation, and coincidentally, of a hitchhiker in the galaxy, is “Don’t panic.” But on the first day of the second weekend of Jazz Fest, feel free to have all the Widespread Panic you’re jammin’ anxiety-driven heart desires. We mean the band. And while the “Panic at the Fairgrounds!” looks to be hot and soggy — what else is new? — as your earholes are filled with the tunes from local and national musicians, we have ways for you to hack the Jazz Fest experience and enjoy that fun in the sun and not be a dud in the mud.

Jazz Fest hacks to get you funkin’ it up

Jazz Fest can be grueling if you’re not prepped. The funky music, the funky bands, that funky heat, and sometimes the smells, can leave you feeling funky. But we have ways to hack your festing fury and bring you closer to fine than funky. Here’s the DL from a longtime Jazz Fest festeran. 

Get a resting brunch face at Jazz Fest

There’s something special and different about the joy of Jazz Fest. It feels good and tastes good and smells good — kind of. It stays with you from the moment you hit the fairgrounds. Let’s celebrate Jazz Fest’s 50 years of joy with something else that brings us joy: BRUNCH.

Just say NOCCA: Students play at Jazz Fest

Every year, Jazz Fest brings in the culture of New Orleans, from local greats like Big Chief Monk Boudreaux to the entire Marsalis family on stage. But some of the youngest performers come from area schools, including NOCCA’s jazz ensemble, made of students from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a performing arts high school. We got to speak to the students about their festxperience. 


What To Do


Jazz Fest Highlights:

Chris Stapleton | Gladys Knight | Los Lobos | Shamarr Allen & the Underdawgs | The Iguanas

Non-Jazz Fest:

Zoo To Do | 7 p.m. – midnight | Audubon Zoo | $175
The zoo opens up at night for its signature fundraising gala and black-tie event. Food and drinks from more than 70 restaurants and 60 cocktail bars are included in the price of your ticket.

NOJO Honors Whitney Houston | 9 p.m. | New Orleans Jazz Market | $30
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will close out the concert season by paying tribute to one of the most awarded artists of all time, Whitney Houston.


Jazz Fest Highlights: 

The Soul Rebels | Tank & the Bangas | Aaron Neville | Diana Ross | Big Freedia | Chris Owens | Pitbull | New Birth Brass Band

Non-Jazz Fest:

Kentucky Derby Watch Party | Noon | Galatoire’s | Free
Sure, it’s Jazz Fest here, but elsewhere there’s the Kentucky Derby. Bring out your big hat and your cocktail dress out. Drink specials start at $12 and there will be a contest for best hat.

Geek Fest | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | New Orleans Public Library Main Branch | Free
This all-day event will feature authors, a cosplay fashion show, discussions, fan groups, film screenings, games, an out-of-this-world story time, workshops and a few surprises. Character attire is not required but crowd favorites will be rewarded.

May The 4th Be With You Dance Party | 9 p.m. – 2 a.m,. | Dragon’s Den | Free 
In lieu of a parade this year, the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is throwing a dance party at Dragon’s Den for May The Fourth. Gather downstairs at 9 p.m. for the Browncoat Brass and beam upstairs at 10 p.m. for a dance off like you’re Star-Lord saving the galaxy. Costumes encouraged.


Jazz Fest Highlights: 

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue with the Nevilles | John Boutte | Jimmy Buffett | Maze feat. Frankie Beverly | Little Freddie King| Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr. and the Wild Magnolias | Herbie Hancock | John Fogerty

Non-Jazz Fest: It’s Cinco De Mayo! Here’s a list of places that have parties going on:

Lakeview: The Velvet Cactus | Irish Channel: NOLA Brewing Company |  Central City: Casa Borrega | Esplanade: Brass Band Block Party @ the New Orleans Jazz Museum | Warehouse District: Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar | Lower Garden District: Urban South Brewery


What Else You Should Know