The cubes are out and its time to start your planning! Well that is if you're anything like me, you've already been to the website and started daydreaming about which day is your favorite ....the taste of that first bite of cochon-de-lait po-boy....the anticipation of how the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka is going to enhance the dance party during Big Sam's Funky Nation...and the sensation of the sweat/dust film that you adorn for the day. All of which I crave until I cross the gates for the first time!! I wonder if anyone watches me as I hand over my ticket to get scanned....I'm in my element....huge grin as I glance at the grandstands which quickly turns to a serious scan over the highlighted cubes that I've brought for the day. What are these cubes?? They're the schedule, your map for the entire days festivities. Who ya gonna see? Where are they playing? How do all of these play into your food selections??? It can be overwhelming....but no need to fear, I'm going to provide my sacred list of tricks for you to employ so that you have a Fest-astic time out there while you're groovin' on the grounds.
After my first glance, both of the Saturdays look to be tops for my musical taste. Keep in mind though, that Jazz fest isn't technically all that jazz....it's a mix of music for all ages and music preferences...so you shouldn't leave any cube uncovered, there are a lot of 'em!
First things first, PARKING. This is a royal pain in the Fairgrounds neighborhood, mainly because there is no parking other than on the street. So unless you know someone who lives in the hood, here's whatcha do. If you're staying in a hotel downtown, some have shuttles to the fest. If you're a local or driving down there, this has never failed for me. Drive on over to the Bulldog on Canal Street and there are Jazz Fest buses parked in front. I believe its a buck or two each way, but WELL WELL worth it. Grab a daiquiri on your way to the Bulldog, hop on the bus, and follow everyone as they drift towards the gate. This works in your favor on the way home...sobering walk to the bus stop, sobering ride to the Bulldog, then you can enjoy either a sobering meal or carry on some more with delicious beers at the pub.
Here are the rest of my tricks of the trade:
- Bring a hat and sunscreen...if you want to survive.
- Wear something that you don't care if it gets wet/dirty
- Can Grenade - How else are ya gonna clap for your favorite bands and keep the beers cold at the same time?
- Crawfish bread, cochon de lait po-boy, crawfish sack/oyster patty/crawfish beignet platter....like having a lil jazz fest in your mouth
- The iced-tea tastes delicious with rum...and so do the snoballs.
- How do you get the rum in? Pour it in an inconspicious bottle, put the lid back on, superglue it. Water bottles = rum/vodka/and the like, Nestea = Sweet Tea Vodka, Coke = Jack Daniels/Captain Morgan Tattoo....make sure to bring cans of the mixers.
- Check the cubes and work out your game plan before you go
- The white chocolate bread pudding is divine....
- For the Cheapskate with a disregard for the law: The Fairgrounds has A LOT of jumpable perimeter fence by the stables, or places where you can sneak beers over the fence to a buddy!
- Try a kids ticket ($5), they look the same, but beep differently when scanned (some ticket takers don't care)
- DON'T put your booze in your collapsible chair bag! They always check those: just put it in your pocket in your pants, they NEVER check there
- You can bring in one bottle of water (not including the secret one in your pocket), but DON'T break the seal or security may make you throw it out
- Try to get near a flag to make a good landmark for friends to meet up, or bring your own!
- Go to the far side from the thoroughfare at the big stages(Acura and Gentilly) when looking for a spot - less traffic means lighter crowd.
- When in doubt for a showtime slot, check out the Fais-do-do stage: always a good time and close to the food!
- If rain is possible, ladies, think about wearing rain booties. They're fun, fashionable, and remember horses do their business (shit) all over this place, so it'll save you when crossing a poop puddle!
- Make nice with your neighbors, they will be ones watching your space if you bugger off!
- Bike it there! The Fairgrounds is notorious for poor parking (it's in the middle of neighborhoods (some not so appealing at night).
This is all I've got for ya folks...see ya out at the fest!!!!