Jazz Fest starts this Friday, kicking off two long, expensive weekends of a whole lot of music, and almost as much food and drink. The Fess takes over the Fair Grounds, spilling out into the Faubourg St John, but it's big enough that the entire city shifts into Jazz Fest mode for these two weeks. This poses a number of (good) problems for visitors and locals alike. People can be left overwhelmed with the options, wondering what the best bets are both during the Fest and across town.
Luckily, everybody and their mawmaw is out with guides to help answer these questions. Of course, the sheer quantity of them is rather daunting, so to help sift through all these guides, here is Eater NOLA's Guide to Jazz Fest Guides 2015.
Jazz Fest 2015 A to Z: Oh, right, there is music at this thing, too. This is Offbeat's encyclopedic guide to all the acts. Use this as a last-ditch resource for the seriously obscure acts. [Offbeat]
Parking near the Fest: Lots of businesses, churches and schools open their lots for festival parking, including Cabrini High School. Check out NOLA.com's ultimate parking guide from last year to get an idea of places and prices. There is a Jazz Fest Express shuttle at the Sheraton, the Steamboat Natchez dock (by Jax Brewery) and at City Park, but city officials do encourage folks to take public transportation, or you know, biking is always beautiful this time of year. [NOLA.com]
What not to wear: The number one reason for visits to medical tents? New shoes that cause blisters. That, and, oh yeah make sure to drink tons of water so you don't get heatstroke or drunk enough to befoul the kids area. [Advocate]
What TO wear (and bring): Consult GoNOLA's guide to dressing and packing up for the day to go to the Fairgrounds. You want to be prepared, but not weighed down, which is tricky business.
How to enjoy Jazz Fest with kids: It's all about planning, and if you don't plan to leave the kids at home there's a kids area and mango freezes. But seriously: "Many children would rather stay home. Plan a day of fun for your child with a friend, family member, or favorite babysitter, and everyone wins." [Advocate]
This year's newcomers, returns, and food dat ain't dere no more: Creole Stuffed Breads and Marie's Sugar Dumplings will be returning to the fest after a year off, while local BBQ restaurant Squeal and Loretta's Pralines step up, the latter of which will be providing deep fried praline-stuffed beignets. [NOLA.com, Gambit]
After hours shows to know: There are tons of shows all over town. However, The most intriguing might be the "mystery shows" at Preservation Hall and the Music Box Roving Village's secret show in City Park. [Where Yat, NOLA.com]
Feast (and drank) after Jazz Fest: Brett Anderson breaks down the places for visitors to check out. There's been a lot of changes in the last year, so be sure to check it out. Also: a comprehensive guide to bars, so all the bases are covered. And if you need even more options, Ian McNulty presents his new Spring Dining guide covering everything from vegetarian to expense account dining. [NOLA.com, Advocate]
Food demos not to miss at 2015's New Orleans Jazz Fest: We're talking free food samples and potentially air-conditioning. Check out Pizza Delicious' homemade meatball pizza, Ryan Hughes' shrimp and tasso purloo, Cristina Quackenbush's drum and shrimp kinilaw (ceviche) and much much more. If you want to devote entire day to demos, Judy Walker says Saturday, April 25, is the day. [Gambit, NOLA.com]
How to fess clean: Here's where to find gluten-free, low-carb, and vegan at Jazz Fest, including recommendations like Bennachin Restaurant's Poulet Fricassee, Jamila's Café's Tunisian Salad, and tons more. Broken down by geographic sections.
How to come to terms with Fest culture: Locals are afraid that Louisiana culture is getting sold out for Jazz Fest. But at its heart, the reason the festival was created and thrives is because of its ability to attract the world here. "For most people, culture, just as life, is rarely measured purely in dollars and cents. We must ask ourselves if these compromises are steering us away from a culture that deserves preserving, and, if so, is that worth it?" [Offbeat]
The complete guide to New Orleans everything for Jazz Festers: The Advocate gets in the Jazz Fest game with this guide to "must-see, must-do, must-eat New Orleans" for visitors. [The Advocate]