475,000 Fans Celebrate Jazz Fest's 50th Anniversary

Published: May. 9, 2019 at 3:34 PM CDT
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The recently completed 50th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell drew approximately 475,000 festivalgoers during the event's two weekends, Festival organizers announced today. This year's Jazz Fest featured an extra day—eight in total—of the unparalleled presentation of American roots music, international rhythms and, of course, Louisiana culture that has made the Festival endure and flourish for half a century.

Highlights included: a rare performance by the first family of jazz—Ellis Marsalis and his four musical sons, Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason—which culminated with a secondline through the WWOZ Jazz Tent; Katy Perry's acclaimed set and set design at the Acura Stage, created especially for Jazz Fest, incorporating New Orleans' own Soul Rebels and the Gospel Soul Children into her performance; the Dave Matthews Band's rousing showcase of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band during their set; the unforgettable Jazz Fest debut of Diana Ross; more than 20 tributes to Louisiana legends such as Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain and Al Hirt, Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint, Louis Prima, Clifton Chenier and Buckwheat Zydeco, Danny and Blue Lu Barker, and many others; a grand finale by Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with members of the Neville family including Aaron, Cyril, Ivan, and Ian Neville, blending the once traditional closing of Jazz Fest by the Neville Brothers with the present day closing by Trombone Shorty; and the release of Jazz Fest: the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Smithsonian Folkways Collection 5-CD boxset of live recordings from Jazz Fest, with an accompanying book chronicling the first 50 years of the event.

Next year's 51st annual event will span April 23 – May 3, 2020, with eight festival days (April 23 – 26 and April 30 – May 3). For the most up-to-date Jazz Fest info, visit

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Foundation's proceeds from Jazz Fest are used for year-round activities in the areas of education, economic development and cultural enrichment. Visit for more information on the Foundation.

Shell is the Presenting Sponsor of the Festival. Major Jazz Fest Sponsors are Acura, the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (A Churchill Downs Company), and Miller Lite. IBERIABANK, Peoples Health, Samsung, AARP, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Coca-Cola, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, and WWOZ are all also Official Jazz Fest Sponsors. Marriott Bonvoy is the exclusive Hotel Loyalty Program Partner of the Festival.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell is a co-production of Festival Productions Louisiana, LLC. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Festival Productions, Inc.-New Orleans) and AEG Louisiana Production, LLC. (a subsidiary of AEG Presents).

© 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival & Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.