Jazz Fest is held annually on the last weekend of April (Friday–Sunday) and the first weekend of May (Thursday–Sunday) between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Fair Grounds Race Course, a horse racing track in the middle of New Orleans.
The festival is a major tourist destination with economic importance for New Orleans rivaled only by Mardi Gras;
"the Festival celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, so the music encompasses every style associated with the city and the state: blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, country, bluegrass, and everything in between. And of course there is lots of jazz, both contemporary and traditional
The Festival also features a wide variety of vendors selling local foods and crafts.
The official food policy of the Festival is "no carnival food.
and there are more than seventy food booths with food items including: Mango Freeze, crawfish beignets, cochon de lait sandwiches, alligator sausage po' boy (sandwich), boiled crawfish, softshell crab po'boy, Cajun jambalaya, jalapeño bread, fried green tomatoes, Oyster patties, muffulettas, red beans and rice, and crawfish Monica.Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
All food vendors go through a strict screening process to ensure quality and sanitary food handling practices. In addition, most foods are made with fresh, local ingredients, and are prepared by hand. All food vendors are small, locally owned businesses
There are craft booths throughout the grounds. The Congo Square African Marketplace contains pieces from local, national, and international artisans, and has the atmosphere of a true marketplace.
Many of the artisans utilize ancient crafting techniques. In the Contemporary Crafts area, one can find handmade clothing, leather goods, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, and musical instruments, and visitors can also watch demonstrations of metal, painting, pottery, and fiber works. Lastly, the Louisiana Marketplace contains baskets, hand-colored photographs, jewelry, and landscape-themed art.
One unique aspect of the Festival is the allocation of large areas for dedication to cultural and historical practices unique to Louisiana. These dedications depict many cultures that exist in the state, including both the Cajun culture and the culture of the descendants of native Canary Islanders, the Los Isleños, as well as many others.
Some of the areas include the Louisiana Folklife Village, which focuses on state art and culture, the Native American Village, and the Grandstand. Many of the folk demonstrators have been recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts for their work.
In addition, parades are held throughout the duration of the event. They include parades by the Mardi Gras Indians, marching bands, brass bands, and social aid and pleasure clubs.