What should I wear to Jazz Fest? The night before I left Los Angeles, I searched the internet for information about the weather in New Orleans, what to wear to Jazz Fest and how to pack for the event. I didnít find too much information, so I thought Iíd post some useful tips that I picked up last week.
Itís hot and it can be humid. Yes, I hear it can pour cats and dogs too, but it didn't while I was there. So, as far as clothes, I recommend a basic outfit. I wore it everyday and with the exception of flipping from long shorts to short shorts, but it was really the same basic ensemble.
The basic outfit: Good tennis shoes (I find flip-flops too weak and they are no good for dancing. Plus, you donít want anyone stepping on your toes!) Tennis socks, shorts, tank top or t-shirt, hat, sarong and fanny pack.
The most important item to bring is a sarong. Basically, itís a piece of material you can wrap around your waste like a skirt. Some call them pareas, but what ever you want to call it, it is the most important item to bring. It is traditionally a cotton piece and can be used is a plethora of ways. You can wrap it around your waste over your shorts to protect your legs from grass and sun. It also looks good while swing dancing. It can be used as a blanket on sand, grass or cement. It can wrap around your head to help keep the sun off you. You can drape it over your arms for suns and/or wind protection. I used mine as a burka. Mine was thin enough to see through, so I could keep my face out of the strung sun, and still see through it to navigate around the fairgrounds. A head band, a dance prop, a sun shield. What ever you use it for, for me, it was the most valuable piece of clothing I had for the four days.
Other necessities: hat (cotton fishing hats are god because they can tie in a wind that can gust). A fanny pack filled with sunscreen, cell phone, pen (to jot down bands you want to check out and names and emails of cool people you meet), sunglasses, cards, chapstick, napkins, camera.
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. You are allowed to bring in bottles of water. There is plenty of water and food available. I always had a bottle and I walked through the People Misters (tents with cool mist) whenever I came across them.
The food is spectacular Ė and it was a bit rich for a California girl like me. I stayed healthy and refreshed by trying Louisiana specialties, and eatting fruit and mango freezes to stay cool and light on my feet.
The tickets are cash only, so when it comes to money, make sure to bring some. In fact, New Orleans is largely a cash town so be ready for that. Credit cards are accepted at some places in town and most places on the fair grounds. Lots of cool things to buy there.
As far as rain goes, it didnít when I was there. I noticed that the fairgrounds sold rain panchos for $70. So, if rain is in the forecast, you might want to bring an umbrella or a roll up pancho. Umbrellas were allowed this year, but things do change.
Jazz Fest is very children friendly. There were kid's music stages, kids food (chicken on a stick and peanut butter and jelly on either white or wheat) games, activities and plenty of fun things for kids to do.
Going to the New Orleans Jazz Fest is really an incredible and life-altering experience. You will hear the best music you have ever heard. Iíve never met friendlier, happier people, so go, enjoy, eat and dance the week away in the beautiful swampy south. ReallyÖcheck it out.
Happy Jazz Fest!