Guide to New Orleans Festival Season
New Orleans festival season is upon us. The two heavy weights are coming up in the next few weeks: French Quarter Festival from April 9-12 and Jazz Fest on the last weekend in April and first in May. Many more follow in the spring and summer months including Bayou Boogaloo, Cajun-Zydeco Fest, Oyster Fest and Greek Fest, just to name a few.
There’s a certain strategy and method to successfully conquering the New Orleans festival season. One must not go into it blind, so heed these words of wisdom for the best festival experience possible once you arrive in New Orleans. Don’t forget to reserve your round-trip airport shuttle for affordable and convenient transportation to and from your hotel!
New Orleans Festival Tips
Solar Security – In case you haven’t heard, the temperature in New Orleans can get pretty high in the warmer months. Protect yourself from the sun with plenty of sunscreen, sun glasses and hats that provide shade.
Hydrate – Like we said, the heat is definitely a factor to remember at outside festivals, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Bring a refillable water bottle with you to always have on hand. At Jazz Fest, remember to not fill it up until after you enter at one of the many water filling stations around the Fairgrounds.
Pacing – In New Orleans, a festival mantra is “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Remember this when you are drinking and dancing in the sun all day. Maintain your endurance by drinking lots of water but not lots of booze in a short amount of time. Also be sure to fill up on all the delicious festival food to stay nourished!
Cash Counts – Although some New Orleans festivals have completely free admission, like French Quarter Fest and Bayou Boogaloo, most food, beverage and craft vendors only take cash. Be sure to bring as much cash as you anticipate spending for drinks, food items and souvenirs. Try to get cash out from your bank first before entering the festival to avoid ATM fees.
Dress for Success – To fest to the best of your potential, comfort is key. While you can still be stylish, keep in mind that festivals aren’t the place for high heels and frills. The best shoes to wear are sneakers with short ankle socks, and otherwise a t-shirt and shorts or a comfortable sun dress for the ladies. A shoulder bag to keep all your belongings is essential. Include a light rain jacket or poncho in your bag in case of inclement weather.
Getting There – By foot or bike is the best type of festival transportation if either is a viable option. Otherwise, consider taking a shuttle.
Fest to the Fullest – If you’re going to the festival for the music, make sure you get to the stage where the artists are performing who you want to see with ample time to spare. If you’re going for the food, map out your must-haves and try to get to them when lines are thin. If you’re there for the whole experience, make a game plan and do as much as possible to make the most out of your festival adventure!