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The first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival started in April of 1970 with four total stages for gospel, jazz, and Cajun and zydeco performers. There was an open tent with an upright piano on the grass where gospel groups took turns singing, said festival producer Quint Davis.
Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, Clifton Chenier, Fats Domino and The Meters were among the inaugural performers.
Since that time, the New Orleans Jazz Fest has received countless awards and honors, including being named the Festival of the Year four times by Pollstar magazine. The 2004 event marked the 35th anniversary of Jazz Fest, which the Wall Street Journal says “showcases a wider, deeper lineup of essential American musical styles than any festival in the nation…” and which Life magazine has called “the country’s very best music festival.’’
This weekend, over 45 years since it’s inception, The New Orleans Jazz Fest opens with 12 stages and a legendary lineup of performers, including 500 acts and 5,000 individual performers set to perform over the course of two weekends: Friday through Sunday and May 1-4.
It’s also a benchmark of New Orleans’ tourism-based economy.
This weekend, the Jazz Fest is overlapping with the Zurich Classic golf tournament and an orthodontics convention, hotel occupancy is projected at nearly 99 percent. The second weekend, occupancy is expected to be around 95 percent. Industry officials said there are more than 36,000 hotel rooms in the area.
The New Orleans Jazz Fest now attracts national and international fans — more than 100,000 are expected to come over both weekends. Click Here to Buy Tickets
Here is the 2014 New Orleans Jazz Fest Lineup:
ERIC CLAPTON • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND • CHRISTINA AGUILERA • PHISH • ARCADE FIRE • SANTANA • ROBIN THICKE • THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT • TREY SONGZ VAMPIRE WEEKEND • FOSTER THE PEOPLE • TROMBONE SHORTY & ORLEANS AVENUE AARON NEVILLE • PUBLIC ENEMY • THE AVETT BROTHERS • CHARLIE WILSON ALABAMA SHAKES • JOHN FOGERTY • CHAKA KHAN ROBERT PLANT AND THE SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS • ALLEN TOUSSAINT RUBÉN BLADES & ROBERTO DELGADO ORCHESTRA • IRMA THOMAS • REBIRTH BRASS BAND LYLE LOVETT • THE HEAD AND THE HEART • BOZ SCAGGS • THE RADIATORS RETURN • AL JARREAU JOHNNY WINTER • BOBBY WOMACK • BIG FREEDIA • DELBERT MCCLINTON • KEB’ MO’ NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS • MAZE FEAT. FRANKIE BEVERLY IVAN NEVILLE’S DUMPSTAPHUNK WITH SPECIAL GUEST ART NEVILLE CHICK COREA & THE VIGIL • MARY MARY • ANDERS OSBORNE • JASON ISBELL PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND • JOHN HIATT AND THE COMBO BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET • THE DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND • RACHELLE FERRELL KERMIT RUFFINS & THE BARBECUE SWINGERS • LAURA MVULA IRVIN MAYFIELD & THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ ORCHESTRA • SOLANGE • PHAROAH SANDERS WALTER “WOLFMAN” WASHINGTON & THE ROADMASTERS • THE RANCE ALLEN GROUP THE MAVERICKS • GALACTIC • CHARLES BRADLEY & HIS EXTRAORDINAIRES • TAB BENOIT ROBERT EARL KEEN • BETTER THAN EZRA • ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO & THE SENSITIVE BOYS JON BATISTE AND STAY HUMAN • BOMBINO • DR. LONNIE SMITH TRIO • JOHNNYSWIM BOBBY JONES & NASHVILLE SUPER CHOIR • JOE LOUIS WALKER • BERNARD ALLISON GROUP ROY ROGERS & THE DELTA RHYTHM KINGS • THE TERENCE BLANCHARD GROUP GREGORY PORTER •RENÉ MARIE – WITH LOVE TO EARTHA KITT • PJ MORTON DAVELL CRAWFORD • GREENSKY BLUEGRASS • SONNY LANDRETH THE INFAMOUS STRINGDUSTERS • JOHN BOUTTÉ • SLEEPY MAN BANJO BOYS ALEXIS & THE SAMURAI DR. MICHAEL WHITE & THE ORIGINAL LIBERTY JAZZ BAND WITH THAIS CLARK SPENCER TAYLOR & THE HIGHWAY QC’S • DOTTIE PEOPLES